My ex boyfriend, the Hawaiian, well, we never really fought fought. He always evaded confrontation, and I was raised by parents who never raised their voices. But that didn’t mean that we didn’t have our moments. And what we did very well as a couple was hide those moments from the world…Which isn’t a bad thing.
We had a kind of “situation” in San Francisco once. It was ten or eleven in the evening. I had silent tears streaming down my face, and he was numb to my emotions (I say this not as an accusation, I say this to describe a jaded boyfriend). I got up to leave, and he stuffed money into my hand: “Take a cab to the train station.” It was his way of saying he wasn’t going to walk me home, but that he also thought it wasn’t a good idea to walk home alone. I dropped the money back into his lap: “I don’t want your money.” And I stubbornly didn’t take a cab either.
I walked forty minutes to the train station. I rode the train alone in tears. It was that moment that I knew this wasn’t a moment to sweep under the rug. I knew we couldn’t maintain a relationship together. No, I didn’t know it: I felt it. My entire body ached. It was a painful realization, physically. It surprised me how physical it was. It dizzied me, it hurt me. It was excruciating, but it was a looming aching pain that wouldn't let me deny the inevitable "loss" in my future." I don’t think there have been many worse sensations in my life. It's like accepting a wound before actually receiving it.
The train took me to my stop, and by that time, I had abandoned all effort to keep from looking ugly while I cried. I was sobbing and whining and wiping my eyes and nose with the sleeve of my old sports jacket from Arkansas. It was a big old jacket that made me feel small—maybe even the smallest.
A man was walking towards me on the sidewalk. I didn’t think anything of it. The streets were lit well, and I knew the neighborhood somewhat well. I didn’t feel threatened. But the man stopped a few yards in front of me, and it made me stop.
“Jade?…What’s wrong! Are you okay?”
Within seconds, I was enveloped in the arms of a friend. He had sprinted up to me and caught me without hesitation. It was Bluch. I felt surrounded by someone. There’s something about the physical touch when it’s sincere—there’s nothing more beautiful than feeling arms around you that truly care for you, that truly want holding you to make whatever is wrong right. I cried in his arms for a long time. He insisted he walk me home. I told him I knew he must already have plans on that Saturday night and that I was only a few blocks away. But he wouldn’t hear of it. His plan, he said, was to walk me home and make sure I was okay. I couldn’t tell him what had happened, I had to sweep, sweep, sweep it under my rug… but I told him two things that night: Jordan didn’t love me anymore and that I had to leave him.
Bluch never undermined Jordan. Not only was he a loyal and honest friend to me, but he was the same to Jordan. And he never faltered one way or another. He brought up possible things that my ex could have be struggling with at the time. He was sure I was loved by my then boyfriend. He told me to give it some time. Everything would be okay. He walked me to my door. He didn’t try anything (I know many men who would have). He hugged me again. Everything will be fine, he said. I didn’t believe everything would be fine…but having someone there to tell me it would be was at least enough to keep me going, to keep me functional.
A month later, Bluch was there when I looked at my apartment in the Bay Area for the last time. It was empty and cleaned out, exactly the way my chest felt. I was so hollow, gutted from a roller coaster of shattered hopes and fulfilled doubts. I closed the door, and Bluch put his hand on my shoulder. We got bagels and coffee before I took off.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” I said.
“It won’t be the same without you guys.”
“Remember that night, you caught me walking home alone?”
“Of course. I’ll never forget that night, Jade.”
“I’m so… thankful you were there.”
“I’m glad I was there too. You really needed somebody.”
“And now I’m here.”
“Everything will be fine.”
He helped carry my suitcases to the train station. Jordan had already left for Hawaii without me, a happening I had come to accept but may never quite understand.
…I don’t like jumping back to these moments. The sad moments. The moments I realized the man I thought I would marry was the man that would leave me with hardly an explanation. But I bring this up again because I wanted to highlight the kindness of a friend. There are so many individuals who have been there for me at the right time (or wrong time) and have helped me get through some of the hardest moments in my life. Funny enough, these people aren’t always my boyfriend or the people I would expect them to be. They’re the people in the background, the people that don’t get mentioned in my blog, the people that work their magic humbly in the shadows. They give so much, and they never expect anything back.
I think back to that train ride home. That walk home. I’d like to believe that I’m the type of person that always believes everything will be okay in the end—and generally I am. But that night when I didn’t think it was all going to be okay—when I didn’t think everything was going to be fine… Bluch, you told me it would all be okay. And even if I didn’t believe in that, I definitely believed in you.
This post is dedicated to Bluch - and all of the people in the background that we can believe in when we don’t believe in ourselves.