Monday, July 7, 2008

Disappearing Man.

My friend The Gardener has disappeared. (I also wrote about him here.) We only saw each other every two or three weeks, and it was a new friendship but, I thought, a deep one. We'd have breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday morning at Los Altos, the dirt-cheap Mexican restaurant just up I-35. We talked about sex and politics mostly. He usually paid, and a couple times he took me out for ice cream which totally made me feel like a girl. In a good way.

He's a sweet man and I think our friendship was getting richer as we got to know each other. I was slowly getting over my urge to lick his neck every time I saw him. But he never introduced me to his long-time partner. I'm sure it was partly because we saw each other so infrequently and there probably wasn't a time when it would have naturally happened, but, also, I felt like maybe he was keeping me to himself. Not that we were having "an affair," but I felt like there was at least a little bit of "the other man" about it, which I liked because it kept our friendship in some small way erotic. Could be all in my head, who knows. At any rate, The Gardener disappeared.

He stopped answering emails. After a break of several weeks, he did reply and say that with the summer he was spending less time at the computer. But then after that, nothing. And I don't have his phone number any more. It was in my cell phone, which I got rid of.

I guess I'm a little worried. His mother died early this year, and a friend killed himself not long before that. He didn't seem particularly thrown by either death, but he's a stolid man, ex-military, not the type to get real emotional. Now, that can mean he has a very healthy attitude, he's philosophical about life and death and deals well with the big stuff. Or it could mean he keeps it all inside and it builds up and he has a meltdown later on. I haven't known him long enough to have an opinion.

I've been thinking of him a lot since I've been here in Indiana with my mom and dad.


Colleen said...

Knowing that your relationship with The Gardener may not have been sexual, and that he had a long-time partner, if you had feelings of an erotic nature toward him and were open about these, and his long-time partner found that inappropriate in a friendship, it may be that he disappeared because he chose to keep friendships appropriately, well, friendship-like...and avoid people who may have an agenda that's veilèdly disrespectful of the boundaries of his relationship.

Steven said...

That occurred to me, Collen. That may be true, and I would feel awful if I put him in an awkward spot. To me, our flirtation seemed pretty light-weight and innocent, and The Gardener is the type (I think) who wouldn't hesitate to tell me if I was pushing a boundary.

Colleen said...

And yet, you write a blog that makes you appear to delight in pushing boundaries. Could you have ignored a message telling you that, spoken or unspoken, amid the pleasure you took in expression of attraction?

Steven said...

I don't delight in making my friends uncomfortable, but I do think most of what people call boundaries are at least worth interrogating.

I admit I don't have much reverence for a lot of the assumptions people make about how monogamous partners should behave with others. I think any relationship is probably better off without the jealousy, insecurity and stinginess that lurks behind most of those "boundaries."

Colleen said...

Well, in objecting to boundaries people set (for many reasons, not all bad) for their relationships, you may have to satisfy yourself with fewer friends.

Dogmatic living can make for a lonely person.

Steven said...

Can't argue with that.