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T h e A d v e n t u r e s o f C h i c a g o J o

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Oh, My Friend

2007-12-21† Ė† 11:11 p.m.
Dear friend,

I make no excuses when I tell you youíre being a shit. You say inappropriate things because you know it irks others, and I jab you in the ribs and stifle my laugh. Truth be told, Iím as much of an asshole as you are; I just donít say it aloud to anyone and everyone. But due to this commonality, we became friends.

Our friendship developed into dinners that are more date-like than anything Iíve been on in a good, long while. However, instead of swooning over each other, we talk about cute boys, other people in our chorus of gay men, and everything else we come across.

I know all about your partner, and the ins and outs of your relationship. I know all about your work, and the people you encounter in your day-to-day life. I know about the hobbies you want to try, and we promised to sign up for pottery-making once the new year started.

So when I got a call on Tuesday morning from an unknown number that left a voicemail, listened to the message, and heard your partner ask that I call him in regards to you being involved in an Ďemergency medical situationí, I started shaking. An unmet partner does not call your friends unless thereís some serious shit going down.

Massive heart attack. Defibrillator. Oxygen deprivation. Northwestern Hospital. Coma. Should have died. Uncertain future.

I thanked your partner for calling, told him that Iíd alert others, and probably mumbled something awkward and typical like Ďkeeping you in my thoughtsí and Ďlet me know if I can do anythingí. I then told my closest chorus member friend, and he took care of alerting the chorus GM to make the group email announcement.

On the road to start my Texas travels, I turned around and headed back to Houston, waiting to hop a flight once your status was determined. Waiting sucks. Patience is not one of my greater virtues. Especially when Iím waiting to see how my friend -- who is healthy, non-smoking, and non-drinking -- is reacting to not getting oxygen after suffering from heart failure.

For the past several days Iíve taken advantage of my ability to go completely numb to a situation. When thereís an emergency, Iím the one you want driving you to the hospital, as cool as can be. However, as soon as you get into triage, Iím humped over in a corner, sobbing.

Iíve been fortunate to have good distractions this week. I spend most of my time thinking about kissing a particular handsome man, telling my niece and nephew that Iím about to shake them for talking so goddamn much, and shopping for the familyís Christmas presents. Itís not to say that you arenít occasionally surfacing to the forefront of my brain and causing me to gasp for breath, wipe my eyes, and say things like, ďDonít you die on me, fucker!Ē Iím just able to ignore it, despite knowing that my grief will compound when I let myself feel it.

So knowing that today, one week later, was the day chosen to take you out of the medically-induced coma to check brain functionality, Iíve been on-edge. I kept myself as busy as possible, knowing that the announcement would come soon. Fully understanding the state of both your brain and heart, the realist part of me begged the optimist part not to go overboard.

But then the news came. When I saw the bold HE WOKE UP, I started bawling tears of relief. I know this isnít a promise of life back to normal, but itís something dammit. And after this torturous wait, I needed something. Now add to it that you not only woke up, but also RESPONDED to a request to squeeze your partnerís hand before they slipped you back under your healing and protective layer of consciousness, and thatís nothing short of miraculous.

So now that weíve got a glimpse that things under there are working again, go ahead and take your time. Weíll all be here waiting for you.

Love you,
Jo†



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