1. an act or instance of interceding.

2. an interposing or pleading on behalf of another person.

3. a prayer to God on behalf of another.

4. Roman History . the interposing of a veto, as by a tribune.

Tenderly then, I will cradle this unknown heart, and speak for it as if it were my own

I am both a sentimentalist and a sap. I frequently engage in magical thinking, make unfounded prophecies, ignore the evidence of my senses in favor of the clamoring of my heart.

And these are some of the best truths about me.

However all of this may be, I do not subscribe to the rather crushing notion that we are destined to find only one great love that will be the shaping of us. I believe, instead, that some people are drawn together and recognize one another in ways both material and abstract. That these people, if they are able to discover each other, become bound in ways that defy reason and countermand sense. That this can happen any number of times in the course of a life, and always without exception leaves both parties changed indelibly.

I met the first – and perhaps greatest – love of this kind when I was just sixteen.

I was most truly myself at this age; vulnerable, brash, filled with conceit and self-loathing. I was ambitious without any expectation of realizing my goals, I was full of myself without liking my contents. I was convinced no one should ever love me, so I was unabashed about lavishing my adoration on others unstintingly, without any anticipation of reciprocity.

By faith, all of these things are still true, they have merely been tempered by time.

I decided at some pass my best chance at being beautiful was to stand very close and in the reflected glory of the beauty of others. So, clever as I was, I set out to find the most glorious beauty I could.

And so I did.

We were in Overtones together. This elect singing ensemble met before school each day to practice. She was newly transferred and in need of a ride. I was possessed of a hand-me-down Plymouth and not a whit of sense about why I mightn’t wish to drive a car with no insurance, no license, and lacking operational reverse gear. I blithely offered to collect her each morning and bring her along to school. But on the first morning, I failed to appreciate the pitch of the drive and was momentarily stuck rocking the Valiant back and forth in an attempt to pop its rear wheels out over the curb to get back to the street.

I looked up at her standing at the top of the driveway, imagining her derision and impatience. I was mortified and humiliated. When she climbed in beside me, I began to apologize profusely. She simply laughed,

“You have no idea. My boyfriend has to start his van with a screwdriver. This is pretty standard for me.”

The landscape of our histories were different, but far more similar than those of most of the other teenagers we knew. We had both been desperately poor, came from chaotic family backgrounds, and were now largely responsible for our own progress forward through our remaining adolescence. As a result, we were rather pleased with ourselves for our maturity and superiority compared to these children who had never known what it was to truly suffer.

We understood one another, and spoke a common language of marginalization and pain. More than simply this resonance – compelling though it was – she was also quite simply the most beautiful creature I had ever beheld.

Her fondness for me was somewhat less entire.

We struggled through the heaving seas of our emotions, conflict over things I considered strange and confusing to acknowledge (my inability to understand my cloying need for attention might be overwhelming) and an ever-present but not explicitly acknowledged belief that she was consenting to be my friend, and that this great favor could be withdrawn at any time, without cause.

And, it was. More than once. Though, ultimately, we continued to maintain a relationship for most of 15 years, there were long stretches of time when we did not speak; several times at her insistence, once or twice at mine.

We spent uncounted hours together. For a long time, she was my sole and only friend, and I hers. We talked about things both mundane and universal. We squealed in the darkness, and railed against the silence. I comforted her when she acted in ways that betrayed her, and offered reassurance regarding her sometimes callous treatment of myself and others. I agreed with her unstintingly about everything and used all the power at my disposal to justify anything about which she felt fleeting guilt. In exchange, I got to keep being her friend. For many years, I was satisfied with this arrangement.

Then, at some point, I began to realize that I wasn’t the exceedingly plain smart friend of the beautiful girl. That she wasn’t just doing me a favor by letting me hang around. It eventually dawned that I was indeed beautiful in my own right. And I, in the classic way of all fools disappointed in love, began to resent her. In this, I erred considerably; ascribing to her all the motives and machinations that might have been true for me, if I were she. Ah, such a dear and insidious conceit.

I also began to change my ideas about how I wanted my life to look, what I cared about creating, and what no longer served me. Part of this change occurred when I had my daughter, but part of it was an ongoing process of learning to appreciate the things I had to offer that it seemed only I had failed to acknowledge.

Mainly, at some point, I simply began to feel like what we shared transcended mere friendship. That we were family and that despite our growing gulf of differences in values, lifestyle, and ethics, we would simply work to adjust as necessary.

Yet somehow, that isn’t how it all turned out.

We had been struggling more pointedly for a while. We both had other friends, and we had drifted into very different social groups. She more fully embodying the bohemian lifestyle she was always flirting with and I gravitating toward a much more conservative one. We had years of shared history but it was more or less all we had in common anymore.

Despite this, I was unwilling, and indeed had no desire, to consider letting her go. I had long since come to understand that she was one of the great loves of my life. That though there was never a romantic component to our relationship, it had many of the other dynamics of the passionate devotional entanglements I had otherwise experienced; including the unhealthy ones.

But like so much about this love, she did not feel it as I did.

We had a rather hideous fight at the worst possible time. This great love was declared dead over the phone as I stood on a streetcorner. All the while gasping at the hypocrisy and arrogance being leveled at me for offenses that to my mind constituted gestures of social politesse, not the betrayals she had labeled them. We no longer recognized each other. We no longer had a shared and common language, and it seemed nothing remained but mutual contempt.

But, that was only a seeming. At least for me.

We have seen each other once or twice since then. We have spoken our words of regret and apology, and I am mostly satisfied with that. Mostly.

There is a part of me that longs for her yet, so desperately that I still timidly reach out to her; occasionally declare this love lives still, despite all. In my dream last night, I begged her husband – for what seemed hours – to intercede with her on my behalf. To carry my love to her and ensure that it be felt. This dream is merely one of many I have had recently about her. Some where she rejects me cruelly – in ways she would never even think to imagine let alone act upon – some where she refuses to acknowledge my existence at all. In none of them do I see what I know to be true which is that – of course – she still holds love for me too.

Would that I were able to take this certainty with me into sleep, that it should keep me cradled atop the waves, rather than sunk beneath them; oppressed by an internal and antiquated deceit.