We've been friends for eight years now. The first time I met him, I thought, "He can't be for real. He's too nice of a guy." It took me a while before I realized he, in fact, was for real. And my soul mate.
And that's not easy to write. Straight guys don't have other guy soul mates. Or so I believed.
It just kind of happened. He liked this and I liked that. And I understood why he liked this and he understood why I liked that. It kind of blew my mind. I've lived a life among females: three sisters, a strong mom, two wives, a daughter. My best friends have always been female. And then this guy enters my life. This incredible guy.
We talk a lot about music. He's an inspired musician. I'm an aspiring musician. Let's talk about Mersey Beat bands from 1964. Who were better than the Beatles? Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas? Yes, for a song or two. Who's the greatest rock 'n' roll band of the 2000s? The Booze? Yes! Now, let's talk about that weird guitar chord that chills the soul.were better than the Beatles? Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas? Yes, for a song or two. Who's the greatest rock 'n' roll band of the 2000s? The Booze? Yes! Now, let's talk about that weird guitar chord that chills the soul.
But then, the talk takes different turns. Shrunken heads—oh yeah, let's talk about shrunken heads. Let's talk about the afterlife. Let's talk about "Ulysses." Let's gossip. Let's talk, and talk, and talk.
One day out of the blue, my buddy said, "I love you." I don't know how to respond to that. No guy had ever said that to me before. Not even my dad. How do you respond to that? Do you say "I love you back, bro"? Or "Hey, dude, thanks." Or "You're freaking me out"?
No. I say, "I love you, too." What a concept!
We held hands once. I don't know. We were both scared about things happening in our lives and needed to know we had each other's back. So we held hands. It helped.
It's become easy now. No conversation ends without an "I love you." And an "I love you, too." And I like saying "I love you" to another man.
Somehow, as I grow older, the men in my life have become more precious to me. I was the only boy in my family. Things might have been different for me had I had a brother. But men have always freaked me out just a bit. I don't get them. They scare me. Until, maybe, recently.
There's Jim. I've known him for some 30 years now. We live in different parts of the country, so I haven't seen him for a long time. But he's promised to sing at my funeral. Jim's some 10 years younger than me and I figure he'll still be around when my time comes. Jim's a professional singer. "Danny Boy," it's gonna be. And I'm going to hold him to it. That's our pact. It's a blood pact with the brother I never had that can't be broken. I love him.
There's Gus. I call him The Mysterious Man of Mystery because you can't quite put your finger on him. If Gus doesn't hear from me for a couple of days, he knows I'm in a funk and shoots me a shout. He cares. I'm not sure why. I love him.
And John. John is the coolest guy I know. Handsome, talented, so nice he has no right to be. And out of my class. But my buddy, nevertheless. I love him.
Jonathan—I haven't known him long. He just recently gave me a book he said he thought I'd like. He got it at a library sale for 50 cents. He liked it. So he gave it to me because he thought I'd like it. I love him.
I've never been a guy's guy. I've never been one of "the guys." I've never snapped a towel in the gym at another guy's butt. Perhaps I'm gay and am not able to acknowledge it. I don't think so, though. When I dream, it's about women. I do love women.
But here I am. Age 61. Forging my way into who knows what. And it seems that men are now going to be a part of my life. A big part. So when Eddie, my soul mate, says "I love you." I will always say "I love you, too." Because he is not just a guy. He is a man. A good man. A stand-up guy. Someone I love. A lot.