I want to tell you about a remarkable person I know. Many of you know him. His name is Drew. I don’t know why I’m writing this now, as opposed to before, or now, as opposed to later. I guess the inspiration is just here, and it feels right. So here we go…
I have known Drew for eleven years. When I first met him, he was a backwards-cap wearin’, drunk-drivin’, hard-drinkin’ fraternity boy with silver hoops in both of his ears. I thought he was pretty hot. Thus the decade-long, on-again, off-again crush began.
Now, eleven years later, my feelings have deepened, and I see a more whole, intelligent, wise man than I ever saw before. Not only do I see this person, but I feel him in everything I do. Drew has always captivated my imagination and ignited my passion, but it wasn’t until recently that I think we started to get the hang of love. Most couples get tastes of love, moments. We had that, too. That’s one of the reasons we stuck together, kept coming back. But our immaturity and our fear usually covered the love up, that deep, true pool of love that exists between any two people if you look closely enough. Drew and I had glimpses of it, but not a dependable practice of it. Mostly, we had a strong bond, and a curiosity that kept us coming back.
About a year and a half ago, I started planning this trip. I think that no matter what road I took to get here, I would have ended up here. I could have married some stranger at nineteen, or bought a house at twenty-three, or had twins before I was ready, and still, somehow… I think I would have ended up here. Or at least, I would have felt the strong, strong need to be doing what I’m doing right now: traveling alone, meditating a lot, writing every day, growing strong and healthy, and becoming the person I want to be. Thank god it all worked out. Interestingly, I had just started dating Drew again when I began planning this adventure. Some people may have called it off. I think a lot of people wondered how I could entertain the notion of doing both things at once- loving Drew, and going away for a year. It’s not the most conventional thing to do. But I had to do it. My heart was singing a song about the East, and it had been for a long, long time, and I knew that if I was ever going to do it, the time was now. Well, a year and a half ago, the time was soon.
Many people in Drew’s position would have balked. They would have left. Or they would have made me feel bad about going. I have no idea what I would have done had the tables been turned. I’ve thought about that a lot. At the time, I think my insecurities would have been too strong. I think I would have loved him, but had to turn away a little. I think I would have had to separate our lives. I don’t know. That’s neither here nor there. But Drew did something interesting. He continued to love me and support me.
I remember when I had my first thousand dollars saved. Drew took me to Washington Mutual, and we sat down with a financial advisor to figure out the best way to invest my money. We talked to the guy for a long time, and Drew took notes. We started up a CD, and from that point on, I saved and saved and saved. Drew would often look at various websites and banks, and suggest the best places to put my money, where I would collect the highest interest. He talked to me about CD’s, and mutual funds, and even the stock market. He checked out Suze Orman books at the library and let me read them. He taught me the beginnings of what I know about money. It was so nice to have someone do that with, someone who loved me.
As the trip got closer, Drew continued to support me, and never made me feel bad about going. He went to every goodbye party with me, sat by my side as I hugged one, and then another, and then another of my closest friends goodbye. He never expressed any doubts about my journey, only gave me cautious advice when it was relevant. He even told me a few times that when he thought about me traveling in the world, he would experience a feeling of joy. That opened me up and made me love him even more. I can’t think of many people in the world, young couples in particular, that could express that sentiment in the given situation. And on my last night, he had dinner with me and my family, and then drove me to Sea-tac.
Again, I’m not sure why I’m sharing this right now. I guess my sense of appreciation and love for Drew have just deepened indescribably since being away. I am absolutely awed by his sense of balance and peace. I don’t know if Drew is the most confident person in the world, but he certainly seems to be. He lets me be out in the world, far, far away, and he loves me anyway. I was having lunch with one of our good friends at the very beginning of this trip. We were sitting on a beach in Thailand, and I was telling her how gracious and kind Drew had been about me going. I told her that it blew my mind that he could support me so completely in what is sometimes a difficult situation. He was allowing me to travel, on the other side of the world, even though it meant we would be apart. And he was giving me every tool to do this successfully- love, avid curiosity, dependable support- because he knew it would make my experience all the more positive. Our friend nodded her head all the way through, and then she said the words that I had been thinking all along. “It sounds like true love.”
It is true love. Letting someone go, not knowing what the outcome will be, is a selfless thing to do. And in our case, it was also the best thing he could have done. There was no fighting, there was no messy break-up. There was just a letting go, and a great fondness, and now, a blossoming love. There is a quote- “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back, it’s yours forever.” That quote struck me the first time I heard it, because I knew it was true. Drew let me go, has let me go many times, and my love for him has only deepened. My desire to find him again only grows stronger.
Years ago, he and I went camping in Leavenworth. We weren’t “together” that day, but we were falling for each other again. We sat on a rock, lodged between the flowing river and the gleaming sand bank. The sun was perfectly warm on our shoulders, and mothers and children played in the water. We drank cold beers, and our noses turned pink in the sun. Then we went to the bridge and jumped off. This is one of my favorite memories of Drew. I don’t like to box people in when I describe them, so when I say that Drew reminds me of that rock, I don’t mean that he is only solid. He is free, he is wild, he is a dreamer. But there is something inherently grounded in him, that I think many people respond to. He feels safe. He is the guy you call in an emergency. He will not lose his head, he will not freak out. Wonderfully, I don’t think that I have ever seen Drew angry.
One time, when we were probably nineteen and twenty, a homeless guy walked into the room just as dawn was breaking. I was dead asleep, but Drew shouted, leapt out of bed and threw the guy out. I think the bum was trying to steal his wallet. That was the closest I have ever seen Drew to getting angry, but even then, it wasn’t that. It was a quick response, the right thing to do. He’s not repressing anger, either, or fear. He just has a steady outlook on life, and he doesn’t get rattled easily. In my experience, Drew is like that black rock in Leavenworth, sitting in the sun. He watches life flow by like the river, always changing, always new, and he just sits back and enjoys living. Maybe that’s why he feels so warm to me- he just chills under the sun day after day 😉
I feel blessed to be close to someone so warm. I feel like I have my own sunshine in my heart, beating in my blood, always steady. I know that if I need to go somewhere to cry, I have a big, strong chest to lie my head on. I know that if I want to laugh my head off and enjoy life, I have a friend to do it with. I know that if I ever need someone else’s love, I can go to Drew, and he will hold me and kiss me and prove to me again and again that life is right, that it is meant to be, that we have such wonderful reasons for living. I hope he’s not blushing too hard right now- I hope I haven’t said too much- I just wanted to share with you all what a special person you have in your presence, or perhaps your memories, or imagination. I also wanted to express a little, teeny bit of my own growing love for him 😉