Taking all of my possessions and discarding, selecting, and gifting every item; I compressed my existence. I had to leave behind my old life – the wife, some friends, the house, some memories – the attrition of a divorce. I was forced to eliminate the inessential. The unbelievable yearning that results is hard to comprehend. In that moment, I was grasping for someone to remain by my side.
He had always been there. Steve and I had been attached at the hip for the past few years. We ran together, and when a migraine hit and I could no longer see where to run, Steve ran for help. We climbed together, and when the overhanging rock ahead looked impassable, Steve gave me the calm and steady gaze that communicated trust. We biked and skied together, and when I saw and felt him graze the edge of this rock or that tree, I pushed harder to stay alongside him. And just as I found myself on my own, Steve found his person, Devyn.
I would often go by myself to a series of boulders where I knew I could be alone. I couldn’t stand to be in that big empty house, my possessions and partner gone. The lonesome rocks were close but obscure, offering sharp crystalline granite to cut into my skin as I made progress upward. Normally, Steve would be by my side for these missions, but I felt a burden to everyone in that moment. Although, when it came time to make the final move from the big empty house, again Steve was there. I didn’t have to ask, both Steve and Devyn were there, pushing, hauling, and sweating as we moved the last of my possessions into a single bedroom of my own.
Very often, our friends would marvel at how great Devyn was for Steve and how amazing it was that they had found each other. Steve, by any account, is our most loyal friend, and it broke my heart when he spent years before Devyn, with the same yearning that I now felt. But it was as if that spell had broken overnight. From the very first time that Steve introduced her to our friends, when vulnerable hope and nervous energy ran high. To when sat around a dimly lit kitchen table, drinking whiskey and sharing stories, bringing Devyn fully into Steve’s coterie. I was so immensely happy for Steve, but at times, I selfishly wondered if I was going to be losing a piece of our most loyal friend.
One evening, Devyn, Steve, and I went to the boulders where I would often climb on my own. I was in the midst of a fit of doubtful thought. Had I made the right decision to be alone? What was the right path forward? It was weighing heavily on my mind as we climbed. After taking a tumble from the top of a boulder, I sat on the mats across from Steve and Devyn. It felt like the day of climbing was over, but I didn’t want to be alone again. Steve asked me how I was doing, and when I couldn’t answer, my eyes filling with tears, Devyn knelt next to me, putting her hand on my shoulder, remaining silently by my side.
Authored by Andy Munas