I’ve reread a lot of what I’ve written over the past few days, and what’s jumped out at me is the dance of intimacy I present with Dana… how fully fleshed out she is in terms of how much I love her and don’t. I fluctuate between pushing her away and wishing she were here in the biggest breaths of my life. Knowing for certain that she doesn’t want to reconnect doesn’t keep me from wishing we were closer, and it also doesn’t keep me from talking about the bad parts, either, which are what keep me from wanting contact even as laughter envelops me when I think of one of our legendary adventures.
- When I told Dana that when I met her, I thought she was a loud obnoxious blonde woman, she started putting that on her name tag at church.
- When I moved to Houston the first time around, Dana made me a cat at Build-a-Bear, complete with her famous Stitch impression that used to illicit tears… because she said that line.
- Dana drove with me to Houston and flew back. We’re punch-drunk as hell trying to make El-Paso for dinner. We come up with this bit… “Excusth me, do you have a margarita asth big asth my head?” “I want a margarita asth big asth her head, too, ’cause she’sth got the bigger head.” “Yesth, your head might be taller, but mine hasth more circumferenceth.” We never actually did get margaritas that night- we ended up at Sonic. How I let her get on the plane back to Portland is beyond me.
- I remember seriously planning our first child in the moments after our first kiss, because my biological clock exploded as if my uterus was talking to me, telling me I was home.
- Dana used to work at a grocery store, and the first flirt I really remember was that every time I went to the counter, she’d say, “hay sugar” and wink as if I was the only person in the room.
- When Dana and I were in the same room, the air was different… electrified. It not only energized us, but fed others…. mostly by being explosively funny.
- We were Jeopardy! fiends, and constantly amazed each other at the sheer amount of random shit each of us knew. This led us to compete in pub trivia, and one of the moments my pride for Dana knew no bounds was when she won THE ENTIRE THING BY HERSELF…. and she was playing for money.
- One of Dana’s ex’s friends was playing on our trivia team one night and David and Nathan knew something was up. They knew that we were thick as thieves and it was only a matter of time. We giggled in just that way, and just got a knowing look. So, said friend goes to the bathroom and David says, “ok. What’s up?” I said, “we’re so in love we can hardly see straight.” David: WELL IT’S ABOUT GODDAMN TIME. When Dana called her dad, even he said, “I’m surprised it took this long.” And that’s just two people in a two page list.
- I was celebrating my breakup with Katharin when Dana came over and we got trashed to Talladega Nights. I don’t handle alcohol well, and the next morning when I woke up, Dana was gone. In my deepest Southern drawl, I said, “did I do anything last night for which I owe you jewelry?
Looking back on it, that’s when the barrier broke for me, and I couldn’t stop wanting her, when before I was stuck on the idea that all this emotion was just what best friends had. Surely all best friends can finish each other’s sentences… surely all best friends wake up in the morning and snuggle? Surely all best friends are automatically assumed to be a couple wherever they go because they act like it. Surely all best friends avoid going on dates because they feel coupled enough? Moving to Houston was the best thing for us, because it forced us to realize that the people we loved were fine for someone else and treating us like crap so that the timing for us was finally right.
When I was living in Portland the first time around, Dana was married and I was single and badly needed a friend…. and over time, pushed away dating in favor of hanging with her. When I got to Houston, I had two girlfriends who were both convinced Dana was my soulmate and I was just trying to hide it by being with them. They didn’t give themselves enough credit, because I valued my time with both of them, but ultimately they were right. I was lying to myself because I had to.
I think it’s the reason I remember our first real night together so clearly, because it was so emotional. Everything that had been bottled for almost four years we drank in with laughter and tears, because it was a moment a long time in the making. I went to sleep with tears of joy streaming on my cheeks because I felt home.
In that time and place, she was my sun- accurate because she’s blonde.