File Under: Friends
The guy I'm hugging in the above picture is Brian. How we met is a funny story. Brian knows just about everybody in Chicago. He has lived here for a lot of years. About 8 years ago, I found his profile on an online dating sight. I sent him an email, hoping to initiate contact. I never heard back from him. I was disappointed but didn't lament (too much) over it. As I would review the site from time to time, I'd see his profile.
A couple years later, I was spending the day with my friend Chuck. We were having a yard sale at his place. A mutual friend of both Brian and Chuck came by and Brian was with them. We met, chatted briefly but I was at a loss for words because I didn't know if he remembered that I had written to him so I was generally just trying to be polite. He was nice though and I was glad that I got to meet him in person.
Sometime later, maybe a few months or so, I was out with my friend Dan. Wherever we were, in walked Brian and he and Dan, who were friends, began to chat. Dan introduced me and we acknowledged that we had met previously. Still I was kind of tongue-tied around him. At that point on, I started seeing him out a lot, Dan and I would run into him often, or I'd see him when I was with Chuck and we'd laugh at how our social circles overlapped. Things became friendlier between us.
As time went on, we became better friends. We would run into each other at a party and hang out and chat. I learned more about what made him tick, saw that he had some of the same insecurities as me. All the time that I thought he was just one of these great social butterflies without a care in the world, I realized that he had a vulnerable side and on a few occasions I was the one he would confide in.
We've had some great adventures out with our friends, some of our more memorable events were Cinco de Mayo 2007 (TEQUILA!) and the Pride parade 2006, among others.
Our most recent event was actually for a sad/happy reason. Brian was promoted and is moving to Washington DC this week. Saturday night (1/12) was Brian's going away party. A whole bunch of Brian's friends gathered at Crew Bar to send him off in style. It was a fun night, but a sad chapter for those of us who won't see Brian on a regular basis any more. Oh sure, he'll visit, and we'll visit him so he'll always be in our lives. I'm just glad I finally got to know the guy that I first saw in that profile picture, all those years ago.
Here's a few of us from Brian's party.