Love leaves us with deep marks on our hearts.
They're like little well warn paths of memories that sometimes become exposed again by a familiar scent, a well known tune or another unforgettable experience.
For me, Better Than Ezra, Garbage and U2 sends memories of Thomas rushing through my veins.
My heart used to beat faster at the thought of seeing him. Oh, how I remember laying on my bed, going through my mental catalogue of clothing, hoping the night's selection would be the style to send him rushing into my arms.
It sounds silly, I know. But when you love someone as much as I loved Thomas, pretty much every waking, conscious thought has a Kevin-Bacon-six-degrees-of-separation connection to that person.
I'm surprised some people didn't call in the doctors to have us surgically removed. For a long while, wherever Thomas went - I went. Whenever I needed a date, Thomas was the obvious choice. He was hilarious, uber-intelligent and a lot of fun.
We met when I was interning at my first TV station. He was a tape editor showing me the ropes, getting me ready for my own jump at slicing and dicing beta tape. Thomas was an unlikely crush for me: I like my guys manly, masculine and towering, and Thomas was kind of on the shrimpy side. I don't mean to say he was a shrinking violet, but at about 5'10" and maybe 140 pounds, he wasn't exactly the kind of guy I could see suiting up to be on O Line. That's the way I like my guys. But I digress.
Thomas was so damn funny. From great jokes and impressions, he always made me laugh. I felt like I could totally be myself around him, which was a refreshing change from so many other crushes I'd had in my life.
I spent the night over at Thomas' place a million times, sometimes in the same bed, and nothing happened. There were times I was piss poor drunk at his house and nothing happened. This speaks volumes about two possibilities, one I know for certain: Thomas is a man of impeccable character.
I remember New Years Eve 2000. I was so drunk that I planted a massive smack on his lips while fireworks blasted overhead in Lexington's Cox Street Parking Lot. The kiss got a luke-warm reception but I was pretty much too crocked to either notice or care.
But I started caring later.
The trouble with love is it has a way of becoming overgrown and out of control if left unattended, and that was exactly the problem Thomas and I had. He knew I loved him, I knew I loved him, but neither of us wanted to confront the fatty, white elephant in the corner. It was just too uncomfortable a conversation for us to broach.
I can admit it now. I became borderline obsessive. I was jealous. It drove me crazy when Thomas showed even the slightest bit interest other girls. He eventually left the tv station and went to law school, taking on a whole new bunch of friends I had no connection to, no knowledge of, no relationship with. It hurt me to be filled with so much love for a person and have it completely left by the wayside for the unfamiliar.
After a dozen crying episodes (mostly precipitated by alcohol, mind you) and half as many heart-to-hearts, Thomas and I had an unspoken agreement to essentially part ways.
In an interesting twist, about six months ago I moved to the city Thomas now calls home. In fact, his home is almost smack-dab behind my apartment.
We've seen each other (because of a mutual friend) a half dozen times in the two and a half years we "separated," but we had our first, great reacquainting a couple weeks ago. The possibility of lunch was even floated out there.
To this day, I love Thomas. I don't think there's enough rubber to erase the memories, the fondness, the past of such a deep relationship. But I'm not in love with him. I've learned through the grapevine there are some good reasons that make me feel better about my unrequited love. I guess it's a small consolation for the lump of rejection I carried around in my heart for years and years and years.
Thomas did leave me with something to be thankful for. I learned that humor is a key piece of enduring love. Thanks to Thomas, I know the one person I spend the rest of my life with is in for some pretty damn good times.