There was something about us that clicked upon sustained contact. Darkside and I found each other decent company after we were introduced. We discovered that we had shared interests. But in all honesty, it would have stayed right there had other circumstances not kept us in closer contact. We might not have spent so much time in each other's company. If either of us had been less lonely, we might not have confided in each other. If I had been in a relationship that actually worked, I might not have been in such desperate need of a loyal friend who could tell me when to hang in there and when I was being an idiot.
It really could have been anyone who struck up a friendship with me. I just happened to find a man of integrity with a bit of a Thing about friendship and loyalty just at the point when I was despairing of ever having any such friend. He started as a good friend on principle. He told me how he'd lost friends through time and distance over the years. His past had taught him too many ways to be a bad friend, and he was determined to not duplicate the mistakes of others in his own person, especially not upon an innocent. Such determined friendship and loyalty I had rarely known, and I resolved to treat him as he treated me.
He moved, then, out of the neighborhood he'd lived in during high school, and I watched his friendship with his high school best friend slowly dim in the distance between them. I saw this, and I vowed in my heart that come what may, I would not let him lose me the same way, and I would not let him be lost to me as so many of my childhood friends had been. By the time he graduated, we'd wrapped our friendship in complexity upon complexity. I was a far stronger woman than he'd met, and he was a far less timid man. My affections for him and my sanity both fluctuated, but the core of the matter was still my determination to never allow that we should fade from each other's lives.
Among many other lessons, Dad had always taught that if you saw something that someone really wanted, and it was within your power to easily grant it, and it was something that was all right for them to have according to your best judgment, then you should grant it to them. Dad's career was computers, but his vocation was noticing what would make people happy and then making it happen. He was a good teacher, and without hardly knowing it, I'd picked up some of the little tricks of perception. And I could taste that Darkside needed a friend such as this.
Darkside had been there for me when the crap went down with BJ. He acknowledged my feelings for him without crushing them, and yet without taking advantage of them and of me. He rebuilt me, and rebuilt my ability to trust, after Shawn. He had touched a dead woman walking and brought her back among the living. And thus I vowed in my heart that I would not fade from his life, I would not become another tally-mark on his list of abandoned friendships, and I would not go from him unless he sent me thence, and even then I'd be contentious about it.
Loving Darkside, caring for him, keeping the faith in each other and the friendship alive, is a vocation in and of itself. This is just as caring for me and working to restore me from my dreadful hurts must have been. I don't remember swearing any oath with my lips and my breath or my words and my fingers to stand steadfast at his side always, but I swore it in my heart when I saw that if he were left to himself, he would disappear from me and think it the natural order of things. He has given me everything, so I must give him the same.