You scared me when you drove in the center of the roadway. It never happened, but oncoming traffic could have hit us if you weren’t paying attention.

You scared me when we were coming into my apartment complex one night. The parking lot was almost completely full. You were about to turn into a reserved spot. I just wanted to save you the trouble of pulling in and then having to pull out. So I told you it was a reserved spot. You got so mad. You told me I was disrespecting you. When I was just trying to be helpful.

You scared me when we were at the Formula 1 race and I was picking up your trash as we were leaving. And you told me to put it back down on the ground. You said something to the effect of that’s what the workers get paid to do – pick up trash.

I didn’t feel good about that. But I didn’t want to get into a fight about it with you. So I put it back down. Because I had so many thoughts and emotions about your attitude in the moment. So confused. My brain always like a calculator. Trying to add up what all of this meant. Overwhelmed by what it meant. Because I wanted to be your friend, but I really disliked your attitude about this. But do you cut off a friendship over someone leaving trash on the ground?

All of this is swirling in my head. When your best friend who was with us silently leaned down, picked up your trash you had told me to put down, turned around, and walked away. That spoke volumes. I knew right then and felt bad about second-guessing myself. Felt ashamed that I hadn’t done the same.

It was somewhere in the same three days of that Formula 1 race that we went to Whataburger after being in Austin. And you were so obsessed with keeping your car clean after a muddy day at the track that you took off your shoes and maybe even drove barefoot. Which was whatever – questionable in terms of safety. But I guess that’s mainly on you if you want your foot mangled in an accident.

The part that made me feel unsafe was when you went inside the restaurant barefoot. I had no room to judge. But it was the jarring dichotomy. Of driving a Mercedes you were so freaking obsessed with keeping clean, but then going into Whataburger barefoot – like even most homeless people wear shoes. And I wasn’t even embarrassed for me so much as just worried for you.

That was something I went back to whenever our friendship got too intense and you started to pull away. Putting me down even to my face in order to justify it to yourself. One of your favorites was to throw it back at me that I wasn’t “normal”. That you were going to go spend time with “normal” people instead. I.e. people that don’t challenge you. And I’d always remind myself of that time you went into Whataburger barefoot. Yeah, the “normal” boat sailed away a long time ago for you, buddy. Not in a mean way. But just like facts, bro.

You didn’t want to see it. And I don’t blame you. But just like with me, from birth we both missed the “normal” bus. Nothing about our lives or upbringings set us up for the acceptance of others that is absolutely normal to crave. Especially when you’ve been walking a lonely journey for a long time. Good intentions and loving Jesus got us a long way, but both of us were very tired. So I couldn’t blame you.

You called me on New Year’s Eve. We were sitting together on the phone for quite awhile before midnight. And you were telling me how badly you wanted to be with someone on New Year’s Eve next year.

Those were the times that were so weird. Having you that close but knowing we were miles away. Not only physically but otherwise. Spending all this time with you, at your request mostly towards the end.

As I was already pulling away long before I put my foot down. Because despite the risk I’m taking by putting myself out here like this, I knew all along that you were never committed.

The hard part though is that you would invest. You would spend a lot of time and even money on me. So it was very confusing. Not to mention telling me we could get married if I lost weight.

I was scared I’d lose you if I asked for more, for better. So I never did until the end. It lasted so long because I didn’t hold you accountable. I just took whatever you were in the mood to give. Made do with whatever crumbs were tossed my way. Story of my life, right?

But it felt like there was potential that I didn’t want to crush. Like when I’d tell you that I needed to work and you’d just come over and take a nap on my couch until I was done. You could take a nap anywhere. Why come to my house? To be with me, close to me, when I couldn’t even be there for you?

Those are the times I thought maybe we had something. Maybe there was a future.

Same when I told you I needed to do schoolwork one day. And you suggested we take a drive to New Braunfels. That I could study as you drove. And then we could be in Landa Park while I finished. And you took another nap on the picnic table bench as I worked away for a long time.

Why, Jonathan?! You could have been doing anything else. With anyone else. But you chose to be there next to me – even in silence as I worked away. Why?!

Just to waste time? Just because you had nothing else better to do?

Or did at least a part of you like me and enjoy my company? Did at least a part of you genuinely care?

I never knew what to do. Hot one day, and then inevitably cold the next. You were always back and forth. It got to the point where I started shutting down just to protect my heart. Because the minute I started to trust you and maybe what was being built, you’d feel scared and run away. Leave me alone. Make me feel like the bad guy, the desperate fat loser you were enduring. And I put up with it because I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt. That you could and would eventually see deeper than just the surface.

And it was even more difficult because whenever anyone else would talk down to me or treat me badly, you’d sit and talk with me for however many hours it took to get me to the point where I would value and stand up for myself. I was able to put up so many good boundaries with your help. But I never imagined or wanted to use what you taught me to put up boundaries with you!

That was such a difficult thing to accept and do. My favorite person. Had become the one who could hurt me the most. And you’d helped me get to the point where I could even say no to you. The last thing I wanted to do.

I’d go back and forth all the time. Every day. My little calculator mind trying to decide what to do. How much hope was left. Praying, asking God for help. But there was some disconnect in my mind. I was missing something in my logic and it was keeping me in limbo.

That’s where ironically our Bible study and your best friend gave me the answer. We were all there one day. Sitting in the group with the people we had invited to study with us. Me silently torn about what to do. And as if out of nowhere, your best friend’s words cut like a knife through all my confusion over you: “perfect love casts out fear”.

Immediately I knew. And the answer was crystal clear. The reason I was scared to commit to you, the reason I wouldn’t lose the weight, was because your love wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t safe enough. So, and this is more the point, the problem wasn’t me. It wasn’t that I was making things difficult. It wasn’t that I was too broken. No, the problem was your love wasn’t enough.

From that moment on I had clarity. Even if I wished things worked out differently. No longer was I confused.

And it’s totally okay if you didn’t want me. That was never the issue. The problem was at one point you called me your best friend. And you said we could get married. But then you’d disrespect me. And hurt me. That was the problem. That you never wanted to face. Or take accountability for.

I finally had to release you. Stop holding you hostage to my values. When you were clearly fine with bulldozing me over while at the same time telling me not to let anyone else treat me the same. That was such a difficult thing to wrap my mind around.

I finally had to realize I didn’t like that part of you. As much as I wished differently. Reality, as you liked so much to remind me, was undeniable unless I wanted to continue torturing myself by trying to make a home in the endless dissonance between your words and your actions.

And I don’t even blame you. Anymore. You truly were doing your best given the examples you had. I believe that.

And I know loneliness all too well. So I enjoyed your company as much as you enjoyed mine. When it was good for both of us. Maybe just for a time?

I don’t know. I feel like God brought us together for so many different things.

Did I try to overstay what our time together was intended for? Is that all we were? Just stepping stones for each other?

You are gone. You have been gone for a long time. So the verdict seems to be staunchly in.

But, why this book? Is this just the eulogy I need to write before God will let me move on?

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