He was a guy I went to college with and perhaps the first man I ever had a crush on. I only have one photo of him. Asleep on a sofa in the college library circa 1968.
We spent a lot of time together during the summer after Sophomore year after which I went on to study abroad and Silvio transferred to a state university.
To be perfectly honest, it was more than a crush. I think I was head over heels in love. But, it was 1968 and it was a love that dare not speak its name. At least not in my world.
Silvio and I drifted apart. He got a PhD, married a woman, had a child, and was teaching in a small college in the northeast. He called me once, a couple of dozen years ago to tell me he was visiting his parents in a nearby city and that he would like to stop by for a visit.
I was as nervous as hell, but said "Sure. Love to see you."
Silvio came for a visit and told me his wife had passed away. We talked about stuff, caught up a bit.
Of course I was "out" by then and had been dating Leon. But for one brief moment I entertained a thought that maybe there was a chance my old love might be requited.
We ended our visit without my daring speak the love I'd had for him when we were younger and for some reason we never kept in touch afterwards.
Writing and editing a 300 page memoir brings up a lot of stuff of the emotional sort. So the other day, just for the hell of it, I googled Silvio's real name, PhD and region where he was employed.
The first thing that came up was Silvio's obituary that dated his passing on September 26, 2012. There were no details on the cause of death.
I can't precisely explain the emotions that reading Silvio's obituary stirred up.
A profound sense of sadness.
A sense of loss:
- of an old friend;
- of any possibility of renewed contact;
- of sharing a love that could now speak its name;
- of a possibility that had remained open-ended, now closed;
- of youth;
- of a harbored fantasy;
A sense of my own mortality getting closer - life a commodity in limited supply.
The obit carved out a little space, an emptiness in my soul.
It brought a few tears to my eyes.
On Leaving the Forest - A Love Poem - August 1968 (an excerpt)
I must leave you now forever
for I love you
You are beautiful and dark
and I would love you
Rest in Peace, Silvio, know that I loved you.