BUZZY AND I
Buzzy and I returned to a hero’s welcome. They had a giant Purple Heart in the town square and nearly the whole town, most of whom we knew, turned out. They were chanting our names and carrying signs and banners. There were lots of laughing and crying and handshaking. It was joyous. And the most important thing, which I don’t think anyone else thought about because they were so used to seeing us together, was that Buzzy and I were together.
He and I have always been together. I think our mothers diapered us side by side. We’ve done everything together. We went to school together, joined the Army together, got shot together, came home together.
His real name is David. His grandpa called him Buzzy. Now, I’m the only one who calls him that.
We decided to check out the student union at “State,” our alma mater. It was a quick and easy choice, the same one we almost always made. In those days of sit-ins, movements and folk singing, there was always something going on there.
In one of those classic magical moments, we found ourselves in light and easy conversation with Lissa and Becca. Let me tell you, they were NOT Home Ec majors. Becca and Buzzy instantly glommed onto each other, leaving me with Lissa. She was cute, fun to talk to, and seemed to be giving me her full attention.
In the days that followed, it became obvious to the most casual observer that Becca and Buzzy were crazy about each other and a future together seemed inevitable. It just fell into place then that the four of us were together much of the time. Things just seemed to flow easily and we had lots of fun.
On a bluebird day, we were enjoying the outdoor terrace at the “Barf and Gag” Café on campus. It was nice. Becca and Buzzy were giggling and conspiring across the table from us.
“What did they say’” Lissa asked me.
“Couldn’t hear ‘em,” I answered shrugging, knowing full well exactly what they said.
“They’re so happy,” she stated … purposefully.
She hesitated a long time, and then told me “I’ve been very happy too.”
I wanted to tell her that I was very happy too, and I was. But, I couldn’t. I knew this time was coming.
“Let’s go for a walk.” I gestured toward the river.
We waved goodbye. They waved back, but I don’t think they gave us much thought.
We walked a little without speaking. She looked embarrassed, scared, but a little hopeful.
“Lissa” (oh, I so much wanted to call her “Sweetie” or “Babe”), I … I’m in love with someone else. Someone I can never have. Someone I can never be with.”
I could see the thought process on her face. First, trying to make some sense of the facts, then realization, then struggling to figure out a way to make it work.
“But I love you,” she asserted bravely, willing her admission to overcome what I’d said.
We stopped walking. I just stood there, hands in my pockets. I yearned to tell her I loved her too, that her love meant so much to me, that I didn’t want our time together to end. But that would be so unfair to her. I remained silent.
“We could be happy together. Don’t you think I’m … sexy?”
“I’m sure most men would think you’re very sexy, but it doesn’t work for me. Now, you’re the only other one who knows.”
A look of real surprise came over her face, then refusal to accept the reality of my deepest secret. “I’m a virgin.”
“So am I.”
“Well then, we could … try.”
“Stop, Lissa.” I tried to sound a little angry. “If we’re together, you’ll never find the one you deserve, one who will love you completely. Someone who can give you everything you need.
Becca and Buzzy are still very happy together. We still have lots of fun together. Their kids call me “Unkey.” We still miss Lissa very much.
Buzzy still doesn’t know.