I’ve said before that When Harry Met Sally is one of my favorite movies of all time. I love the banter. The idea that two people who are very different can form a friendship and fall in love is my ideal scenario. Part of what works is the pact they made to be friends, allowed them to be real with each other. No romance, no pretense, they were silly with each other, they helped each other through heartache, he actually let her in because the regular rules to dating didn’t apply to her. Because he didn’t have to call her he did. There was freedom in the arrangement. They could date people and see those people come and go from life and yet their friendship remained. They were each other’s constant.
I’ve told you about my Harry.
I first met him in school. We were in classes together but I don’t have many memories of him. I remember he was very tall and big-boned. He was a wrestler and football player with a body that just kept growing. He had a very big head with bright orange hair and bright blue eyes. And all I really remember about him were the arguments he’d have with one of my best friends. He loved to debate. About anything. He was brilliantly smart and cocky. He would make her so mad it was funny. He remembers me being aloof and pretty and blonde. That is as deep as it got.
I met Harry again in 2009 on Facebook. He was still opinionated and his body definitely kept growing. Thick with muscles and very bald. In October of that year there was a fire in the town where my mom lives and his office is in the same town. She was evacuated and we connected on Facebook and he offered her a place to take refuge. She didn’t need it but his kindness impressed me. I had no idea under all that brawn was this gentle, helpful spirit. We started sharing occasional messages but nothing special. Every now and then we’d notice a post and briefly catch up. He followed my romance with Martin a bit because he likes England a lot. At one point he was even trying to help find him a job in America so we could be together.
But it wasn’t until Martin and I split up that he reached out to me and told me I could vent to him if I needed to. He didn’t push. I took him up on it and vented. And he was a very good listener. We started to chat. He was with me through H.S. Guy and Mercenary Guy and all my waffling back and forth with Martin. He became a friend. And one night I was tired of being alone. I was in my I’m single and proud of it stage. And I asked him if he would ever consider hanging out with me in person. He said, “of course lets plan it.”
Only we didn’t plan it. Or we tried and it kept getting put off for one reason or another for about 4 months. But we kept talking on chat mostly, sometimes Skype. He does not see the world as I do. We are very different and yet we are connecting as friends on a level I have never had. Intellectually. He is so smart and I’ve never been challenged the way he challenges me. Not in an adversarial way but in a step up your game sort of way. And he is like this giant of a guy who is probably the sweetest most loving person I’ve ever known. It started out with him being my online therapist, but he has shared and really opened up – we are helping each other.
Two weeks ago I met Harry a third time. I hadn’t seen him in person for 25 years. We finally decided enough is enough and we planned to share lunch. We met at a popular restaurant that was packed with people and food. He walked in and I just saw the back of his big head and I thought, wow he is big – like a big bear. We walked up to each other and I practically disappeared in his hug. We didn’t notice that the people around us disappeared eventually. We both forgot to pay our bill, I think the waiter came back 3 or 4 times and I still hadn’t signed my receipt. Four hours later, the lighting was changed for their dinner guests and we were still sitting at the same table, enthralled in conversation with each other.
A week later, we did the same thing. Four hours. Not one kiss. Who does that?
Yesterday he had an emergency at work. He owns his own company and is launching software that he developed. And he called me on the phone for the first time. He had to drive down to San Diego because a client was not happy. We talked as he drove until he got there. And last night while we were chatting he said the sweetest thing that anyone has ever said to me. Referencing the phone conversation we had earlier, he said this to me,
Harry: Do you know how much you meant to me today?
me: Maybe not
Harry: Do you know how much I wanted to hear your voice..? I’ve never called you before
me: I know the whole call thing was good I loved it
Harry: I really just wanted my best friend…
Harry: Can’t you feel it?… it’s like if you don’t know something… it didn’t happen.
I don’t know how I keep finding myself in situations that feel like I’m living a scene out of a movie. But somehow these scenes find me and I live them and I love that they do. Cause yesterday I fell in love with this guy. This guy I haven’t ever even kissed. I fell in love with his heart, his soul, the fact that he put establishing a friendship with me first.
I’m just a little afraid for the next scene. It’s scary. Again. I don’t want the one like in the movie to happen to me. Harry and Sally finally kiss and then he starts acting like he’s always acted with other women, like all the rules changed over night. I want to stay his best friend. I like how it feels. I like how we aren’t using each other for anything. I like going slow. But I do know that I don’t want to stay in the same place. Our relationship is so healthy now. It’s all good. We are in that magical place where we haven’t done anything mean or nasty or even absent-mindedly hurtful yet.
Right now, I’m like Sally, closing my eyes with a big smile, blissfully happy. And I don’t want to stop smiling just yet.