I just dropped Sal off at the bus station. He’s moving on up north, to see his cousin and maybe get his old job back. My heart aches to see him go, and I know the apartment will be lonelier for a while, but it was time, and it was one heck of a visit.
We didn’t do much while he was here. Watched a bunch of movies, drank a bunch of beer. Went to adoration, went to Mass, hung out with mutual friends. Talked a lot, occasionally about things that mattered, but mostly not. Talked about writing and hacking, theology and martial arts, traded lines from Star Wars and Kung Pow.
A couple of Saturdays ago, we were sitting in the car after going to Confession. In a moment of courage born of prayer, I let him know about my SSA. His response was to put his head on my shoulder for a second, and then say regretfully that he wished he could reciprocate by telling me some dreadful secret of his own, but he didn’t have any that I didn’t already know.
And that was pretty much it. We talked about it a little more, then moved on. It seemed to make so little difference to him that I almost wondered if he had heard me right. But he did.
That is how Sal is. I talk and think a lot about how having SSA doesn’t put you in a separate category from other men, doesn’t make any difference to who you are. For me, though, sometimes it’s just talk, and sometimes I’m talking to convince myself.
Sal, for the hundredth time, showed me what these things really look like — to love unconditionally, to love without reservation. I could never deserve a friend like that.
But God doesn’t always give us what we deserve. Maybe never.