We were not close friends, but we used to cook together, discuss politics and soccer, go out together from time to time and, most importantly, we respected each other's spaces.
Funny thing? They all had girlfriends/wives that I didn't like at the time. Today, I'm close friends with those THREE girls, all of them exes now: one moved to France and we talk every other week, another other moved to Boston and I was invited to her wedding, the last one moved to Singapore but came back to Cincy and now she's one of my closets bike/knitting "gurls".
You live, you change.
The biggest surprise of the century came two weekends ago when John B. called me and said: "I'm in Cincinnati, what are you doing Friday night? I want to see you! I'm staying at this guy's place, can you come??? please???"
Jaw... to... the... floor...
I was having an after-school girl's dinner party at Shelley's so when I finished there I ran to my house, dropped my backpack, put on some make-up, fixed my hair, changed my horrible t-shirt into a cute top, picked-up the car and drove... drove like hell across the tri-county area to see him.
Oh. My. God!
I never imagined how seeing him would be one of the most emotional moments in a long time in my life.
I got off the car and he was waiting for me at the porch
I played cool and walked towards him but his pace was faster than mine.
He ran to me, and hugged me... and it was sweet.
And he lifted me like in the movies and --- hey! not like that!!! like a brother and sister that reunite after a long time.
You live, you smile.
He said something like: "I'm so happy to see you! I really wanted to see you. Thank you!!!"
I was speechless.
He kept talking: "I heard about what happened to you, the story reached to us in Medellin (the city where he lives). I'm sorry about that. Are you ok, now? is there anything I can do for you?... you look incredible by the way..."
Me? no words.
"You are the sweetest woman I know. Coming all the way from Cincinnati so late at night to see annoying old me... I'm really happy to see you!!"
"I know this past year has been hard for you, and I just want to tell you that we're all praying for you back in Colombia. We were worried but we know you'll be happy again... I'll take care of that, at least this week while I'm here."
"Mafe... are you ok? Mafe... speak!!"
It took me a while to gather my thoughts and all I could say is: It's... I'm just... I'm so happy to see you!!!! I can't believe how happy I am to see you!!!!!
It was true, I never imagined how happy seeing that annoying gentle giant of a dude would make me.
You live, you smile.
He was here the rest of the week, we had lunch one day, dinner another night and a couple of coffee afternoons.
He was one of my "11 male companions" this past Friday, of course!!
Unlike 5 years ago, he was not drinking, we were just talking, talking, talking... he was the designated driver. Say whaaaaaaaaat??
Unlike 5 years ago, he was not in the mood for staying late, he was tired and wanted to go home.
You leave, you change.
He left this morning, yesterday a friend threw a farewell bbq party for him.
I was there all day with him.
I was truly amazed about how much we talked about everything: our lives, our future, love, friendships, old friends...
But the time came and I had to leave, we had to say good-bye.
He hugged me really tight and said:
" It was really good to see you. Please, let me know if you want to visit my city, I'd love to be as good as a host as you were mine.
Mafe, I'm glad to see you're getting better, little by little. I know you'll be back to normal in no time. You'll see. Forget all your sadness and come back to be the crazy geek I know!
Please forgive me for anything I did in the past, you're like a sister to me. I took your for granted. I'm sorry about that. Let's hope I can make up for lost time from now on."
... and right before my eyes started to "sweat"...
" J.B. you are one of the coolest and funnest friends I'll ever have from Cincinnati.
Sharing a house with you was an incredible adventure. This is not good-bye, just a see you later friend.
You were like a big brother to me, even though we didn't always see eye-to-eye on life, I know you would never let anything bad happen to me. I trusted you with my life! There's nothing to forgive.
I love you dude. Don't be a stranger. Cincinnati, Bogota, the North Pole, Timbuktu, wherever I am, you know you'll always have a place to stay with me.
I love you dude, really."
... I never imagine I'd make him sniffle.
After our everlasting bear hug, I left.
You live, you leave, you cry, you smile... you change.