Been thinking about Kirk just now. It's been almost a year since I've seen him, and the previous time was over two years before that. We've been staying very weakly connected by playing backgammon and go at It's Your Turn
, but even if we sent little messages with every move, which we don't, it's not at all the same kind of intense connection we used to have before everything fell apart in 1997-98. I miss that, and I miss him. I think i'm going to make a point to call him sometime during the yule season.
Kirk is the oldest friend I have; we met in college in 1989. The four of us, he and his girlfriend Lore, and I and my boyfriend Jim, were nearly inseparable. Oddly, and the four of us even remarked on it at times, the pairings seemed to be wrong-way-round. Kirk and I were much more compatible than Jim and I, and Jim and Lore were very compatible as well.
Kirk told me the following spring that he had been in love with me for several months, and that Lore had agreed that he and I could sleep together if I was willing. But I was still trying to hang on to the shreds of my relationship with Jim, so I turned him down. After that we still managed to maintain the friendship as close and cuddly as ever, perhaps even a bit more so, with regular flirting and teasing.
Come the next year, I moved to St. Louis to start a job. I returned to B'ton to visit him several times over the next year, and then I met and began dating Ray. Ray and I even went to B'ton once to vist Kirk together. I remember Kirk telling Ray pretty much exactly how he felt about me and Ray saying that it was ok as long as...what were his criteria? Probably words to the effect of "as long as nothing happens and I know it's one-sided".
Ray and I got married--Kirk was my "maid of honor"--and we moved to the UK. Kirk and I wrote lots of long letters back and forth, and sometime in there I realized that I loved him and always had. He met the wonderful Laura and decided to marry her. Ray and I flew home and I was "best man" at the wedding. I told Kirk during a long conversation alone something of what I'd come to realize, and we again agreed that it was not possible.
Then sometime after Ray and I moved home again, Kirk told me that he and Laura were opening their marriage. This floored me. I had never even considered such a thing to be possible, even if some of the situations with Lore and Jim came close. I started remembering all the novels I'd read, with things like group marriages, and did a 'net search on exactly that phrase, which led me to alt.polyamory.
In May 1997 I went to B'ton again, alone this time, and finally expressed my full feelings. And again we decided to put our feelings on hold until I could talk to Ray and gain his consent.
That talk is what started us on the road that ended up in divorce. Ray was incapable of accepting even the fact of my feelings, let alone any physical expression of them. He went to his priest that week and was told that "most men would have divorced her already"--for having feelings!
We tried, or at least I tried, to reach compromise, but it was not possible, even after four different periods of counseling with three different counselors. Ray was adamant on "Marriage is..." and would not admit even the tiniest corner of a compromise.
In the course of all that, while I was fighting to keep the marriage at all costs, the towering oak of my friendship with Kirk was cut down. The roots are still alive, I think, and there is a sapling there, but it is fragile and slender.
Ironically, Kirk and Laura have since re-closed their marriage, but I've decided that I am truly poly. I could list five or six people that I love "like that".