dontravis.com blog post #537
I got everything straightened up after last week’s near disaster, thanks to my good friend Larry. Google decided it wanted to change things all around, so I lost all of my links. For a brief time, I couldn’t even retrieve my blog. But all’s well now… until the next time it’s not.
RAUL AND ME
From my seat on a hard stone bench, I watched Raul Eparta enter the park and took stock of him as he approached in a long, macho stride. Despite the name, he didn’t look particularly ethnic. Too much of his Anglo mother in him for that. Oh, his curly hair was black as the dark side of the moon, and the big, soulful eyes were like muddy coffee, but it ended there. He had his mother’s pert nose and lush lips. And all those features knit well together, making him the most handsome man I’d ever had the pleasure of laying eyes on.
Back in the day, we’d been neighbors on Colorado Street NE, gone to grade and high school together, been BFFs before there were BFFs. Buddies, we called it. Pals. Brothers. Think Damon and Pythias, Achilles and Patrocus. For years, when you saw Raul Eparta, you also saw Rick Shambless. Cocoa and Cream, one would-be wit labeled us.
Fair enough. I was a golden blond at the time, although my hair has darkened over the years to what some would call dirty-blond. My green eyes contrasted nicely with Raul’s brown. My nose had more of a roman curve, but of course, none of that was important. What counted was that we were inseparable. If someone knew Raul’s opinion on a topic, he also knew Rick’s.
When we were sixteen, we experimented. Nothing more than jerking off with one another, but when girls showed up on our radar—his before mine—that came to a halt. I remember that at the time, I grew insanely jealous of his first girlfriend and was unable to understand why he gave her so much of what had once been my time. Then I passed through the phase and became bewitched with my own female relationships. Now, I remember the transition between exclusive buddies to good friends more fondly. In a sense, our friendship was strengthened. Double dating or talking about dates brought their own sense of sexuality. A more socially acceptable one.
His folks moving north during our senior year was a personal disaster for me, an ordeal that took a great deal of effort to overcome… for both of us. While it’s only sixty miles from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, it’s a big sixty miles. We managed to see one another a few times and renew a flagging relationship. In fact, those few hours snatched whenever we could manage were even sweeter, our banter more fulfilling. I got a kick out of learning about new girlfriends, as did he. But, of course, when we went back to our respective homes, the wrench went deeper than I ever imagined. We were close, man… close.
During our college years, the friendship almost died. I stayed home and went to UNM, but he chose the University of Colorado. Phone calls gave way to emails and text messages to mere intermittent contact. As I got serious about a young brunette named Karen, who became my bride in my final year at the U, contact with Raul virtually died. I did get one text message saying he’d gotten married and taken a job at an architectural firm in Denver. I later followed it with a message I’d started my own bookkeeping business and become the father of a golden-haired daughter. He trumped me with a message of two children, both boys.
About a year ago, my secretary surprised me by telling me there was a man named Raul Eparta in the waiting room asking for me. My heart took a leap, and I practically ran over her getting to the door. And sure enough, there stood my childhood buddy grinning at me, delight and affection written plainly on those handsome features. And I do mean handsome. He’d matured into a man of indescribable physical beauty. And while I worked hard at tennis and a daily workout routine, I wondered how he saw me.
“Hey, bro,” he said, brushing my hand away and sweeping me into a man-hug.
“My God,” I whispered in his ear, “it’s good to see you. What are you doing here?”
He held me at arm’s length, those dark eyes sweeping me and registering approval. “Took a position with Arnold Architect, downtown. I’m back in Albuquerque, guy.”
Best friends reunited. Can you imagine the feelings… the emotions… running through Raul and Rick at that moment? Of course, you can. We’ve all lost and then found buddies before. I know that I can feel their reunion intensely. Hopefully so can you.
Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!