Twelve years ago I was friends with Eric, just friends. We had started to spend more time together in the fall of 1997 and it was becoming clear to both of us that we were really the best of friends. Eric would come over to my parent's house (we were still in high school) and we would sit in my room for hours and talk and laugh until it was time for him to go. I spent pretty much every spare moment with him.
Around Thanksgiving of that year I had begun to suspect that it was more than just a friendship we had been building. I wasn't quite sure how to proceed with this unique fellow who had somehow become quite important to me. I suspected that he felt the same way.
On Thanksgiving day of 1997 I was headed out of town for a retreat in Colorado. My bus was to leave from Las Cruces that evening. I wanted to see Eric again before I left town so I called him up and asked if it was OK if I stopped by to drop off a jacket of his, it was. I drove out to his parent's house. His family had finished up their Thanksgiving meal and they were hanging out. I didn't stay long, just a few moments really, but it was then that I could tell things were changing for Eric too. I knew we were ready to be more that just pals.
That night I caught my bus, headed for Estes Park. The bus drove through part of the night before hitting a blizzard just over Raton Pass on the Colorado/New Mexico border. Our bus was diverted into the town of Trinidad where we soon found that all of the hotels were full and they were redirecting people to different shelters. I ended up spending the night and the next day in an elementary school in Trinidad. The school was full of random people who had gotten stuck on the Interstate, including many folks who had been headed to a dog show. So, it was nothing short of a zoo in that school. I remember finding a quiet corner with a friend and we passed the time chatting. My conversation kept returning to Eric, I couldn't stop talking about him as a matter of fact. That night as I attempted to sleep on the cold floor of the school I had made my mind up, I was going to bust a move when I got home...if I was ever to escape that blizzard.
Eventually I did make it home. I didn't get an opportunity until the 5th of December, but I always think about the start of our relationship around this time of year.