21 May 2011

Since We Last Met

On my way home last night, I bumped into someone I hadn't seen in at least a year.  Lucy was getting chicken-on-a-stick from a "street meat" cart next to the Capital One bank on Broadway.  So, I noticed, was a rugged-looking man who looked to be a couple of years older than her.

He's her husband.  He wasn't, the last time I saw her.  They met around this time last year, she said, and got married, in a very small ceremony, in September.  I'm not surprised that it happened so quickly:  I always figured that Lucy wouldn't have a long engagement after meeting "the one."  And, from what little I had seen of him, I wasn't surprised that he "fell" so quickly, either.  You know how it is:  those tough-looking biue collar guys can be, deep down, such softies sometimes.  Maybe that's the reason why the men who've mattered most to me in my life--save perhaps for Bruce--have all been blue-collar, in spirit if not in fact.  Somehow I think Lucy feels the same way.

It's a strange feeling, though, to meet a friend's spouse and realize that you've known that friend for longer than the spouse has.  You realize that, apart from the physical intimacy, there is something else that makes your friend's relationship with her husband different from her friendship with you or anyone else.  I'll describe it as best I can:   Although you are friends in this moment, your friendship is defined by its history.  On the other hand, if you are going to spend your life with someone, you have to be able to look toward the future, or at least forward from the current moment, with that person.  

I met Lucy some time during the first year I was living in Astoria.  I had just moved from Park Slope and the life I had with Tammy; I think she met me during the time when I was still going to work as Nick but was going to Manhattan and the LGBT Community Center whenever I could, as Justine.  I also believe it was just before I started taking hormones.  I'm pretty sure that I introduced myself to her as Justine, which would make her one of the very first people who would meet me that way.  

In any event, she recalled that she was nineteen years old then.  That sounds right; she was in her second semester of college--ironically enough, LaGuardia Community College, where I was teaching at the time.  Now she's twenty-seven and working with her husband, who is an independent electrical contractor.  

He talked about how he met Lucy.  The funny thing is that he said almost the same things I've said about her:  that she's pretty, but that's not what you notice about her.  It was "a light within her," he said.  And that, of course, is what I've always liked about Lucy:  that radiance from within.  "That's forever," he said.  "Someone who's pretty today might not be tomorrow."

Then, for no reason I could discern, he told me, "You must have been really beautiful when you were younger.  You're a beautiful lady now. But you really must have been something."

Lucy and I could only smile to each other.