My Friend is Dead

You know how you look over to the left of your Facebook homepage and it has a random selection of a few of your friends? Today one of those little thumbnail pix was of my friend Scott Utley. I met Scott through another friend, Alex Johns. Instead of a picture though, Scott just had the little white outline of a person- you know, the kind they used to put in high school annuals if the kid was too poor to have school day pictures made. The little caption would say, “picture not available.” “How weird for Scott not to have a picture on his profile,” I thought. So I clicked on it. Under the hollow silhouette, Scott had written the caption, “The photo above was taken by myself on the day after Alex iohns Died. August 7, 2010.” When I read that, I felt like I had been hit by lightening.
I dated Alex for six weeks after we met in 2000.  He was one of the most stunningly beautiful men I had ever met, inside and out.  Every time we were together I would just be thinking “don’t fuck it up. don’t fuck it up.”  For those of you who know me personally, you know this is not my regular MO.  In the arena of men and romance, I’ve always been pretty self confident.  But Alex seemed to have it all together.  I wanted him to be mine forever!  But alas, after about six weeks (and probably due to my wanting him so badly and inadvertently showing this to him) I could feel him start to pull away and…  so I told him we should just be friends. I couldn’t stand the prospect of his rejecting me so I ended the romance part of it first… and then proceeded for the next three years to try to make him change his mind. I was absolutely obsessed with Alex and to this day I don’t know why he just didn’t tell me to get lost. Despite my not-so-secret longing for him, we did become very good friends. We hung out a lot and took some trips together. Every once in a while we’d end up having sex and that just made me want to marry him more. Intermittent reinforcement is the most powerful kind of reinforcement. I loved Alex completely.  Now…even though I don’t always get what I want, I usually am pretty good at saying “things work out as they should and God is in charge” … except where Alex was concerned. I just couldn’t seem to shake the notion that we were supposed to be together as a couple. But our friendship endured, for many years. When I left for Iraq, Alex was the last call I made before the battery on my cell phone died.  When I came back from Iraq, Alex was one of the first people I read the journals to; the journals which would become “The Eyes of Babylon.”  Alex, as he always had regarding my art, encouraged me to make something big happen with the journals.  Eventually, I had to tear myself away from being around Alex.  It became clear to me that I was never ever going to stop wanting to make him mine as long as I was hanging around him all the time.  So, even though my love for him was not diminished at all, I had to stop coming around.  Alex came to see the play when we were open in Los Angeles.  He sat on house-left on the second row and smiled throughout.  I could tell he was proud of me.  That smile could be seen even out in the dark audience.  You will never talk to anyone who knew Alex without their mentioning his smile.  It was very, very hard not to go around Alex.  But slowly I started to heal and holding on to our good memories without torturing either of us anymore with my stalking proved to be good for both of us.  But I still loved Alex.  I still do.

Eventually I met Adam and I found out what it feels like when the object of your longing wants you the same way you want him.  I like this way.  I’ve been on both sides of unrequited love.  Both sides suck.

(my blogging was interrupted by a phone call just now. it was Scott Utley returning my call and I know a little bit more about Alex’s death. I thought knowing some details would make this easier.  it hasn’t)
I’ve spent most of the day crying. Adam has been so sweet. He brought a roll of toilet paper and placed a waste paper basket by my work table. He knows me very well and he can see how bad I’m hurting right now. Adam is the right man for me and I’ve sung that “Thank God for Unanswered Prayers” song a few times over the last six years since Adam and I have been together.
But Alex Johns was someone very, very special to me. He was patient enough with me to let me learn a lot of lessons on him. He was kind enough not to be cruel when I was so relentlessly pursuing me. And he was peculiar enough to still want to have a friendship with me through it all. It was a beautiful friendship. Thank you for it, Alex. I’ll miss you. My heart is broken.

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