Today Otto and I were talking and he told me about a friend of his who’d just broken up with his girlfriend. They were in a long-distance relationship and we all know how much those can suck. Apparently the woman is ready to commit, and the man is… less so. But—as often happens—the man is now wracked with ambivalence, and turned to Otto for advice.
I was about to crack the obvious joke about someone coming to him for relationship advice, but he beat me to it. After some kidding around, he told me he’d really had to think long and hard about what to say. His friend was struggling and Otto wanted to help, if he could.
He showed me the first part of what he’d written, a paragraph about how, in his case, he spent the time that we were apart wondering if he was just meant to be alone. But then he decided to be happy, and I make him happy [everyone together now: Awwww!], and there was some luck and fate involved, but basically It Was Time. He then continued on to say that his friend had a decision to make, and he needed to make the right one for him, for the right reasons, but that when he was ready he would do what needed to be done.
I could barely respond for all the conflicted emotions, and also the sputtering. OKAY MR. MIYAGI, I wanted to say. THANKS FOR YOUR ZEN WISDOM. ALSO, WHO ARE YOU?
In the end, I couldn’t resist pointing out that despite his newfound sense of purpose and peacefulness and “when it’s right you’ll know,” he’d left out one small important detail in his missive.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Well how about that 99.9% of the time, when you break up with someone because you’re a commitmentphobe, they’re not still available and willing to take you back a few years later after you’ve figured it all out?” As I said this, I wondered if our relationship is a testament to fate or masochism. I did not mention that to Otto, however.
“Well, sure,” he agreed. “I know.” As if I was pointing out the obvious, and this had no bearing on his advice. Also as if our managing to make this work is just as normal and everyday as you please, or if not, still not remarkable enough to qualify in his comments.
There is that huge component of how we are for each other, the way that we just FIT, that sometimes causes me to forget that we spent over two years apart, in varying degrees of misery about it, because he essentially said “this is too much and I don’t want it” back then.
If you had told me, then, that he would go away for a while and come back such a changed man, and that I would give him a second chance, and it would all finally work, I would’ve asked you what you were smoking. And possibly if I could have some.
If you had further told me that now Otto would be dispensing thoughtful relationship advice to other skittish males, I probably would’ve laughed until I wet myself.
Otto mused for a bit on how this woman is The One for his friend, but he hasn’t come to terms with that yet. But he should, and will, he told me with that same eerie calmness. He’d be an idiot to let her go. I think he’ll come around, he said.
I felt myself fighting back tears, and I was on the verge of trying to put into words how far he’s come and how much I love him and how lucky we are, when he showed me the rest of his email:
Now that the good friend role has played out for me, here’s the two knee-jerk reactions …
DUDE, what are you smoking? She was freaking HOT!!!
Eh, screw it … use the airfare to pick up high school chicks …
Is it weird that I was sort of relieved? I mean, I don’t want to marry a pod person. If that isn’t proof positive that the guy I first fell for 17 years ago is still alive and well in there, I don’t know what is.