It is not my intention, by fast forwarding through four years, to downplay the influence those years had on us. We had both spent those years in what, at the time, were the most important and long-lasting relationships of our lives. Each relationship ended naturally and for its own reasons, and not because of any sort of involvement with each other.
[This is not to say that I wasn’t to blame for the end of my relationship. I destroyed that thing from the inside out. What I lacked in good judgment during those years, I made up for with complete and total idiocy. I could say (and let’s be honest, I’ve totally typed it twice and deleted it) that I blame this on the slow maturation of my prefrontal cortex. But that would be letting myself off the hook, and I don’t think I’ll ever quite do that. I deserve that hook.]
By 2001 we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in close to a year, probably longer. He was in law school in Richmond, and I was teaching in Rocky Mount. Then one day, when I checked my email after lunch, his name popped up in my hotmail inbox. I’m pretty sure my thoughts consisted of: Whoa.
The email said something like: Is this you?
[This was in the dark days before facebook, young readers.]
And of course, it was me. So we caught up, back and forth. And because we’ve always had a lot to say to each other, our catch-up emails eventually turned into weekly updates. He talked to me about a musician named John Mayer that I really needed to hear. I complained to him about living in Rocky Mount. Nothing exciting, just friendly stuff.
Then one night, at a music festival in Atlanta, I actually saw John Mayer play.
[This was back before he went completely off his rocker. Don’t hate.]
So I decided to call Lee in Richmond to let him know.
I called him at his apartment, which he shared with another college friend.
At 3am. From Lulu’s. After a fishbowl.
I don’t know if it was all the John Mayer? or the fishbowl? or the fact that his roommate, who knew us both, had heard my rambling middle-of-the-night answering machine message about John Mayer?
But I know this: it was all downhill from there.