When the movie ended, we went to my apartment. We talked about Andre and Wally. I launched, as I am prone to do, into a long analysis of how Andre reminded me of the surrealists, a feeling I summed up as being like the line from "Blinded by the Light", about looking into the eye of the sun, and how I thought you can't do it and keep your vision. I thought Andre suffered from a kind of energetic despair.
She said that Andre had a family, and surely that must ground him and make him a happy man. She began to cry, and wonder why her real love left her, and I realized that I was not a long-overdue realization of an chance for perfect friendship to evolve into perfect grace, but just one more rebound, a transition for her to some other, more natural space. She was not to blame for this. She just needed to move on.
I remember telling her I realized that on some level I was and always would be an ass, so I completely understood her choice. I remember the gloat in her room-mate's voice weeks later when I called and the room-mate gleefully advised me (as roommates tend to do) that she had gone away for the weekend with someone else. I remember, after the split, meeting her for lunch. She'd turned a fling-ish smoking trait into a full-formed habit, and she told me of a difficult thing in her life, and we embraced, but I was only there for her, she did not want me for her at all. She just wanted comfort. We parted, and she never called or wrote.
I remember calling, two years later, at Christmas time, to news of engagements and the sense of being politely rushed off the phone. I remember a wedding announcement, a dull ache, an internal questioning of whether what I felt was love or merely longing, and a dull throb that lasted for years.
I remember making contact again, and then insisting a year or two later on recounting my view of the unfair way things went, for no good reason, to no good effect.
I met her when I was 17 years old. We were closer than close until I was 24. That was twenty years ago. I still remember that pain as if the scalpel cut into me even now, even yet.
We last kissed twenty years ago. I live a different life now--so does she. I'm sure we each have thought that it would have been a fascinating thing to be different people for each other, and I'm sure we both have realized we were only who we were, not enough for one another.