Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

During our stay in DC, we ended up having dinner with an old friend of mine - Hunter.

Yes, his name is Hunter. I have friends with some great and interesting names: Hunter. York. Denton. Bill.

I guess it would be hard to call Hunter a "friend". While I have known him for 15 years, I can count on one hand the amount of times I've seen him. But we stay in touch - albeit sporadically.

Back in the Winter of 1994 Morty, Mitchell and I went to Key West for a week. Hunter had the room next to us. I don't remember who he was staying with, and to be honest, neither does he. He'd be the first to admit he never saw the guy again.

Hunter and I bonded and hung out (well - we all did) - and it turns out he was not shy about just saying whatever was on his mind, and he just outright asked what was wrong with my leg. I had my cancer surgery about nine months before and it was probably the first time anyone would have been able to see my still then nasty scar - except for those folks in the gym as I tried to rehab.

But usually social niceties preclude people from asking or saying anything. While he almost apologized for being so blunt, I found it refreshing that someone would just out and out ask. So, I told him the story.

During this trip, he told Mitchell and myself about Rehoboth - which neither of us had been to. Later that summer, Denton, Mitchell and I made our way east to the shore. There again, we ran into Hunter. And while we didn't spend much time with him there, we still made a little time to catch up.

Denton and I went the following two years as well. Both times I carved out availability for Hunter, who it seemed was always in Rehoboth on the weekends. After that - it just became emails here and there, as we stopped going to Delaware for a while.

All the time I traveled to DC, I could never connect with him. I didn't really take it personally, it was just timing. I thought.

Turns out it is not all timing, but it wasn't personal either. Hunter has become something of a recluse. Someone who has decided he will be alone, so is no longer dating or even attempting to date. Working, but not socializing with friends much. Going out to dinner with me on a Thursday - a weekday! - was just out of the norm and something he never ever does.

I found it strange and a little sad. And all too familiar.

I saw some of myself in him. I think that's why I have made this concerted effort to be more social over the last two years. Going out more to places I have not been - and to have more people over and to just get out there with neighbors and friends. It has been great.

Don't get me wrong, the three of us had a wonderful evening together. There were a lot of laughs and a lot of catching up, along with good food and weather. It was just an underlying tone that made me a little uncomfortable. He wasn't. He was fine. Hunter is just a great guy you would want more for - someone who deserves it but just kind of has settled.

As long as he's happy, I should be for him. Hopefully I'll see him again soon. Hopefully he'll want me to.

Song by: Rachel Sweet


Birdie said...

My sister has made the same decision about love. She has literally over a hundred friends, though. At a surprise party for her 50th birthday, "only" 75 could make it. Still, she mourns quietly for love.

rebecca said...

Birdie that's a heartbreaking phrase!

Blobby you were uncomfortable for him, I think, yes? Worrying about how he was doing out of his usual routine?

Blobby said...

I think I was uncomfortable about how open he was with it all. Usually, these are things we keep to ourselves, but Hunter has always been an on-the-table kind of guy.

He is such a great guy, I can't imagine why he is alone or wants to be.

...but that's just me.

cb said...

Perhaps my name should be hunter too...