Sully left for school last year. I still saw him almost monthly because every time I went to see Therapist, I also scheduled time with Sully. Then he came home for the summer and it wasn't unusual for me to call him (or vice versa) so we could take a walk, talk, or make dinner together.
Sully decided to attend the university here this year. I saw him in September and then life made us both busier than expected, and I haven't really seen him since then. And I've missed him.
I called Sully last night to remind him of Messiah. He played cello with us for four years, so it seemed necessary for him to be there, even if he was sitting in the audience. I hadn't spoken with him for a couple of months. It felt good to talk to him again. And it was wonderful to see him, as well.
I realized during the performance that this was day three of not eating. Not good. Somehow, when I'm with Sully, I always manage to eat. Probably because we make the meal together and it seems easier to eat something I've made with friends. So after the concert I said, "Do you have big plans tonight? I'd like to invite you to come home with us if you have time." He said, "Actually, I have made plans. I'm supposed to spend time tonight with my beautiful friend, Samantha." And naturally, I'm a sucker for flattery, and I was laughing before he finished the sentence.
I took us all home. Adam and DJ changed clothes (they sang in the choir), and Tabitha put on pajamas. Sully and I ditched them while they changed and went to the store to buy food to make dinner. And we talked. And talked. And talked. (Seriously, if they gave prizes for people who never run out of things to say to each other, I think Sully and I would win. If we ran out of real stuff to talk about, I think we'd just make things up. However, that being said, I have several friends and family members with whom I feel I could never want to stop talking, so--maybe not.)
Then we went home and made this:
Toast a lot of slivered almonds. Slice an apple (honeycrisp) and a pear (anjou) very thinly and soak the slices in balsamic vinegar (the good stuff). Caramelize a thinly sliced onion. Take the edible part out of a pomegranate. Mend two sheets of puff pastry together on a cookie sheet. In the middle third layer onions, apples/pears, almonds, and pomegranate seeds. Dot the top with a pound of brie cheese, cubed (if it's very soft, spoon it on in small bits). Cut the outer thirds in horizontal strips about 1.5 inches in width, and lace across the top after folding in the end portions. Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes.
(Thanks to Ambrosia for altering the original recipe with me until we made it taste better. We're a great team!)
Then Sully, DJ, Tabitha, Adam and I sat on the living room floor (after attempting clap-push-ups, which I cannot do, but DJ, Sully, and Adam can--and Tabitha comes very close), and talked and laughed until 11:45, at which time I said it was time to take Sully home.
When we got to his house, we talked a bit more. I told Sully some of what had been happening to me. I'm not sure why--probably because I don't want him to think I've been absent because I'm trying to avoid him. I told him how upsetting it was for me to talk about this kind of thing. I don't like looking weak or vulnerable. I told him I don't like telling people I'm sad. It makes me feel I'm asking for something from them--but I don't know what--and I don't want to need things from people, or be a burden in their lives.
Sully reminded me of a time three years ago when he was in need. He reminded me of the many times he apologized to me for taking my time, and for being a burden. Then he reminded me of what I said. I told him then that he was not a burden, but a joy.
I've been thinking about that. There were many times when we spent hours together talking about the things that made him sad. I had told him he could talk to me about anything--so he did. Sometimes, when he left I was tired, but not tired of him. The things we were discussing were sometimes overwhelming, but I always wanted to have him come talk with me. I wanted him in my life because I was telling the truth when I said he brought me joy.
Sully asked me if there was any way I could believe that others felt joy being with me, just as I had felt when I was with him. I don't know how to believe that. I've never really allowed myself to be the one who needed to talk. And if I did, I've always tried to "repay" somehow.
I've never believed that someone could love being with me in the way I love being with other people. It has nothing to do with their capacity to love or enjoy people, but rather, my perception of how I fit in the lives of others. I've always seen myself as the temporarily useful, but easily forgettable friend. Sully said, "I think about you a lot." I'm not a fascinating person, so I wonder why he would do that. He said, "I've missed you." We've known each other a long time. I suppose I just assumed the boredom factor would set in and I don't really feel like a "missable" person.
But underneath everything I'm feeling, under all the messages that don't make sense to me, I think I believe Sully loves me. And I want to believe that when we're together, even when we talk about things that might be frustrating, or gut wrenching, or sad, he still feels the same soul-to-soul joy that I feel when I'm with people I love. I want to believe that I bring joy to the lives of others.
AtP, Tolkien Boy, Jason, Sully...and many others have been sending me the message for more than two years now that I'm not a burden, that talking with me--being with me--is a good thing. I'm trying to hear what they're saying. I want to believe them.
I talked to Tolkien Boy about this today (although I'm not sure he understood me because I was not coherent and I kept stuttering--lack of sleep mixed with discussing a stressful topic), and he said I need to write on a piece of paper what Sully told me and put it where I can see it. I'm not ready for that yet, but I'm writing it here. And someday, I think I will believe it.
A long time ago, when Sully was 16, I knew in my heart that I would be involved in his life. The Spirit told me I must talk to him. He was in distress, and I could help. I said no. I didn't want to. I knew it would open doors I had long since closed. I didn't want to become involved with a cutter, given my own background. I had no training. I didn't want him to know I was gay (and I knew that would be something I would tell him). So I kept saying no. And the Spirit continued to prod me. And one day, when I had said out loud, "Stop bugging me. I'm not going to do it," I realized that I loved Sully. As I thought about that, I was overwhelmed by a love that was not my own. And I knew that our Heavenly Father loved Sully more than I could comprehend. And He was watching a beloved son in pain. He knew I could help and He was asking me to do so.
For the first time in many years I cried. I was afraid. I didn't want to love him. I didn't want to help him. But I did love Sully, and finally I said, "Okay. I'll do it." And at that moment the thought came to me that not only would I help Sully, but he would help me, as well. It was a rather ludicrous thought. I was a bit scornful of it.
And now, as I think of last night's conversation, I'm remembering all the times that Sully has helped me--probably more than I've been of help to him. And I'm grateful. Because as much as it pains me to say it, I need him. More than that, I love him. And after four long, wonderful years, Sully still brings me joy.