When I joined Facebook, I was in a weird place. I had been reflecting on my adolescence. My middle/high school life was one I particularly found empty. I felt it was a piece of what I considered a great life that was empty. Or just void. A time that felt wasted. As if my puzzle was missing a piece and I didn't know how to complete it.
At the same time, I reflected on who was actually nice to me, the Filipino kid who just immigrated from Africa. I had changed Middle Schools early in the year and it was not easy. But there was one person who I remembered always being nice to me. It was a guy named Matt. We shared few classes through high school but we always saw each other around. And were always friendly and nice to each other. On our last day of school, I remember him calling my name. I turned around and he wished me good luck. I remember his face. I remember thinking he was cute. Then I left and went off to college.
Back to now. I see him on Facebook. Send him a message thanking him for being one of the few people who was nice to me in high school. I didn't expect him to remember me. But he did. And we became FB friends. Which doesn't mean much. But we were FB friends. We corresponded occasionally. It was nice. It was even very easy when we did. And although very satisfying, didn't really fill the void I felt.
One day, he asked me about living in New York City. He was considering a move back East to be closer to family. I told him I loved NYC. That I am who I am because of it. And I took a leap: I invited him to come out and visit to see NYC. And he accepted.
So, what is one to think when someone who you have not seen in 23 years accepts an invitation to stay with you. For 3 days. My partner equated it to making your first date a weekend away together. Maybe not the best idea. But it was done. And I had a good feeling about it. Until the day came for him to arrive.
Well. What if he was a psycho? What if he was not who he claimed to be? What if this was the worst idea ever? What the hell? Ok. Calm down. Let it happen. It'll be fine. There's always a way out. Isn't there?
I picked up Matt at Penn Station. When I made eye-contact with him, I felt no anxiety. We even hugged hello. It felt fine. No. It felt great. It felt right.
We spent the weekend walking around the City and just talking. We spent a lot of time exploring parts of the City and what it's like to live here. When we were not doing that, we went back to my place to just talk. About everything and anything. No naps. Just talking. It's amazing when at 40, you can reconnect with someone and it clicks. It's never easy to make friends. And never easy to make friends as you get older. It's great when you can connect on a higher level. With someone who you learn you share so much in common with. And that's even more amazing when that person is someone from your past.
We didn't sleep much on his last night here. We talked about what we want for ourselves and our futures. We laughed about the anxiety we both felt before we met. We marveled at the fact that we last saw each other 23 years ago. We pinky-swore that we would not let that happen again. And we won't. I just know we won't. I'll go visit him out there. And he will probably move out here. But we won't wait another 23 years.
I hugged and kissed him goodbye when he left on Sunday morning. I didn't want to cry because I felt it inappropriate. But sometimes you have to. Because I cried to fill that void I called "high school". And now, I have to cry those tears out to fill it with something better.
This weekend a discovered a piece to complete that part of my puzzle. I discovered a new old friend. I discovered something better. Thanks Matt. Later.