My Dear Delium

When I arrived at college at not-yet-18 years old, I was a smiley kid who looked people in the eye, with unironic Snoopy sheets on my dorm room bed and a Brother Word Processor (yes, I’m that old, it’s true) under my arm. My plan was to transform my former dance accomplishments into full blown theater geekery, and with that I auditioned for a play. I was chosen, along with 9 other cast mates, and we all promptly became thick as thieves. One night during rehearsal, one of my new friends, Becca, said to me: “I think you should date Delium. I think he likes you.” To which I articulately said, “nuh-uh! Really?” and left it at that.

I was having a super fun datey time when I arrived at college. I had a cool ex-boyfriend back home, and he had done the “you’re moving away to college, go on without me, if you love someone set them free” schtick, but we kept in touch and also for the first 6 months he would show up at my dorm every couple of months so maybe it was more “if you love someone set them free but also I will show up sometimes in hopes of a booty call” which was the original draft of that Sting song. Aside from him, I was also just reveling in the fact that I was in college with all these new people and I was drowning in cute boy flirtations. When Becca said that to me about Delium, I was game. I liked him. He was a junior (automatic hottie points) and I remember that all of my dorm friends thought he was cyooooot. I am sure that I would have thought the same thing all on my own but at that age, what my friends thought was pretty much more important. Which, whatever. I was 18.

One day Delium called me on the phone and asked me to go on a date with him, which when I think about that phone call now I find it mortally adorable. He picked me up in his car and we went to some bar where his friends who were in a band were playing. It was some combination rock show plus sketch comedy thing. All I remember is that the band’s show was about them travelling through time and there was one point where one of the guys dressed full Abraham Lincoln and rocked out. It is a weird memory.

Delium and I had this strange relationship after that. On the one hand, we were both really silly people and we spent much of our time together making each other snort-laugh with honest-to-goodness hijinks. Our senses of humor lined up exactly- my very first Comedy-Kindred-Spirit. On the other hand, Delium was the first boy I ever knew who was intense. I didn’t have any experience with intense. I didn’t know what to do with it. He would say things like “I’m going to marry you one day,” or “I’m going to love you for the rest of our lives,” which would make me think “I am 18 years old, don’t be a nutjob, dude” but also “wow, that’s cool. He is Lloyd Dobler.” It was more than I could handle, for sure, but I pretended like I had it all in hand, even to myself.

That sort of intensity can only lead to a full-scale ride on the drama-trolley, and we were no exception. We had a few months of COMPLETE AND TOTAL RIDICULOUSNESS with jealousy! betrayal! declarations! tears on both sides! I shall spare you the details not because they aren’t interesting but because OMG so embarrassing. Still, the weird thing was, that even in the midst of all that, we always made each other laugh. We would be having some exhausting conversation and one of us would, right in the middle of it, DO A BIT. And the other one would laugh and be like “that’s funny, dude!” And then we would go back to being exhausting.

I can’t really remember how we managed to transition out of intensity-land into something else. I feel like it just happened. We just snapped out of it. Delium is not at all intense like that anymore so maybe that’s what did it. I left that school at 19 to go to Chicagoland to work at a theater, and Delium would come and visit me sometimes. I remember going to the Olive Garden with Delium and Nordic Boy there- the three of us. Then I moved to Madison, Wisconsin for a year and Delium moved there too because he was doing a grad program there, so we hung out some more. Then I went back to Fiji and while I was there, Delium switched grad programs to one in Seattle and needed to drive himself across the country. His driving pal? Nordic Boy. Look at how I bring a bromance together like that- those two are now straight up besties. I came back and joined up with them in Seattle, and we have all three been here ever since.

Delium is the busiest person I know. He has a day job, he acts, he dances, he goes on lots of trips. He has always been that way. But Delium is the person that Nordic Boy and I call when we need someone. With all that he has going on, somehow he is always there for us. (And do not even get me started about how Nordic Boy STOLE THAT BOY away from me). I don’t know where we would be without him. He’s our family.

Since my Dad died, Delium has called me pretty much every day. Every single day. Even when he is on a camping trip in Nevada. Even when he has work followed by a date followed by a performance. And he gets right up in my grill and talks with me about every last feeling I am having. And he remembers my dad with me. And he cries with me sometimes. And when I say “I’m so super tired, dude,” he says “I know you are. I know,” in the most gentle way. And we hang out and he still makes me snort-laugh every time.

He may not have married me like he said he was going to, but he did say he was going to love me for the rest of our lives. So, he was partially right.

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2 comments

  1. What an awesome friend!! Gotta say, I'm super jealous of your friendships. I've got a handful of great ones, but we all live so very far away from each other. I'm jealous of your casual, "it's Tuesday night, lets go out-ness."

  2. Kate, most of my closest pals are far away too. I have a lot of "let's hang out" friends here so I get what you're saying, but so many of my closest are long distance. When will a transporter be invented, is what I want to know!

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