I did not expect to feel so much emotion coming back here. It has been a year and a half since the last time. And five years since the first time.
I am back where it all began, the place where I met M. When we pulled up tonight I was on the bus with my buddy Cookie and another friend from my last project in Washington. We were chatting about life, our projects, and gossiping about friends and acquaintances. At the first glimpse of the roundabout and the lights of the main lobby, my heart fluttered. Still now, sitting in my room, I can remember every moment of the week I met M.
It was so impossible and yet the impossibility was unacceptable. What was really impossible anyway? The Red Sox had just won the World Series. If that was possible after being down four games to the Yankees, maybe this had a chance too.
He should have turned me in for cultural harassment. I had gone down for a quick bite to eat at the social center and bumped into a few of my classmates from my training class. Bush had just been re-elected and the Europeans wanted to talk about politics and the war and so we stayed around chatting for a couple of hours. When it was my turn to get a round, I went up to the bar. The crowd had grown quite a bit and the bartenders were having a hard time keeping up. Someone next to me said, "Why are they so damn slow here?" in a German accent. So I looked to see who was speaking and replied, "Because they know you are German and don't tip!" It just came out. Before I could stop it.
He looked at me and smiled and I will never forget that first smile. His eyes crinkled around the edges and I noticed his dark eyes and jet black hair. A girl from my class introduced the two of us and after chatting a minute we went back to our friends. But just like that, life had changed.
The next couple of days we spent as much time as we could together. When you have nothing to lose you don't protect yourself or play games. In a couple days we would go home and probably never see each other again. So we told each other everything.
When it was time to go, I was sure I had found someone special. I considered the options and it hurt to think that I would never have the chance to get to know M. when I was sure that we somehow fit together. I put on my sunglasses and got on the bus and left for home, tears sliding down my face, feeling somewhat ridiculous but more than that, sad. When the text message came on my phone, it made it so much better and so much worse. Let it die or hold out hope?
The ghosts of those hopes and fears are still here but we found our way. Impossible as it may seem.
Posted from Illinois