I don't know what I thought would honestly happen when he read that note. It would have been really wonderful simply to know if he had read it at all.
The next time I saw him, though, he wasn't Eddie-who-knew-we-had-been-friends.
It was one of those perfectly-timed days when I ran into him on the dreaded shared sidewalk. We noticed each other too soon for me to exit gracefully. I picked up my pride and marched deliberately towards certain disaster.
And disastrous, it was. When I hit the sidewalk, he said "Hi" while staring at the ground. He then proceeded to angle himself so that even as he continued to move forward, he had his back to me as much as possible. He stared at his soccer friend like he had the keys to the universe.
I wanted to disappear. But I couldn't disappear. I had to keep moving forward. I had missed this stupid Health and Wellness class every chance I could get, and now I was paying for it with every labored step towards it.
It wasn't even just the sidewalk, that day. To make matters worse, he was headed towards the very same building that I was. My class time in the gym was his workout time in the gym.
Soccer Friend peeled off towards the University Center when Eddie and I approached the door. We reached for the handle at the same time, and made eye contact by accident. His gaze was icy.
"What.", he quietly demanded.
He breezed past me and was gone.
Oh God. I blinked back the possibility of disobedient tears.
Class was the last place I wanted to be, but I really couldn't miss it. I sat with my arms crossed in my desk trying desperately not to think about it. Star was on her way to campus. We were going to go contra dancing right after this class. That was going to be really fun! I focused all my energy on dwelling on Star and contra.
I noticed that my professor was talking about AIDS. I focused harder on thinking about Star and contra and Adelaide. I couldn't cry while we were talking about AIDS! Everyone would think I had a great tragedy in my life and it wouldn't be true! I would just be crying over some stupid boy! What a silly thing to cry about!
Five minutes left in class. Stop thinking about him. I just had to make it five more minutes, at the very least.
But what was that look he gave me? Was it true that he really despised me now? And besides that, I was beginning to feel a vague worry for him that I couldn't put my finger on. I hoped he was okay. And how could he just... how...
The dam broke. I couldn't stop the tears rolling down my cheeks. My classmates all looked compassionate and concerned, and my professor began speaking very gently about how AIDS is a very hard subject for some people and explaining how it's okay to let ourselves feel.
I was about to start sputtering something about being allergic to the building, the air, homework, anything, when (by God's sweet Grace) class ended.
I scooped up my books and my bag just as quickly as I could and dashed out the side door.
As soon as my feet hit the grass outside, I spotted Eddie exiting out of the front door.
It was as if the ocean was trying to empty itself through my eyeballs. He couldn't see me like this. So I did what any self respecting college kid would do. I dove into (yes, literally into) the bushes, waited a few minutes until I thought it was safe, and I called Star.
God's Grace was further demonstrated to me by the fact that Star was a mere hop skip from the bush I was huddled all teary in. She pulled up in her car and I clamored into the passenger seat.
Star took one look at me and knew I was not going to be able to pull myself together any time soon. She didn't say anything. We just drove.
When I got my eyes clear enough to see where we were, it was apparent that we were not headed in the direction of dancing. I gave Star a grateful look and she smiled at me and said, "Of course we're not going dancing. We're going somewhere else."
Somewhere Else was the top of a mountain on the Parkway. Star stopped the car at an overlook. She left the heat on, the doors open, and Regina Spektor's Samson playing so Adelaide could carry on sleeping.
I stepped out of the car and flumped down at the very edge of the cliff, buried my face in knees and I cried and I cried and I cried.
Star sat down beside me and put her arm around my shoulders and let me.
Something like seven seconds later, my conviction that God understood was reaffirmed in the depths of my soul when the sky opened up and wept with me.
Star was as unphased by the downpour as I was. We just stayed and stayed.
When I literally could cry no more, we got back in the car. Star gave me a hug and a kiss on the forehead.
We went back to her apartment where my healing continued with our favorite combo of nachos, white Mexican dipping cheese, salsa, guacamole and a season of Friends on DVD.
My best friend has seen me through more than one emotional crisis. When I think back on it I am astonished at what blessings my life has seen.