Saturday, January 22, 2005

Where is he now? Iked9

The Love Hater asked me– who would I like to reconnect with again?

More than anyone in the world the person that I wonder where he is now and would love to reconnect with is Iked9. He and I shared a special friendship when I was a college freshman.

Iked9 was my next door neighbor on the 3rd floor of Calhoun Hall. He and his roommate were natives of Texas and on the soccer team. The two of them introduced me to soccer and I attended some of their games. They were both wonderful guys but Iked9 and I had a connection that I shared with no one else that year. Iked9 was short, dark chocolate, with ivory white teeth, a small muscular frame and a laugh and energy that would bounce all over the room. In one-on-one moments though, he would offer a serenity that would calm any troubled water. He was sweet and a person that everyone wanted to be around.

Now at that time although everyone on campus thought I was gay, I never acknowledged to anyone that I was. On one hand I wasn’t offering any confirmation. On the other hand I wasn’t denying it either. I was very “just so.”

I was pretty popular among the guys on my floor that knew me. I was Clay Starr and accepted as just one of the guys, a little special but still one of the guys. When I look back on my freshman year and the guys who lived on the 3rd floor of Calhoun I have some of my warmest thoughts. We were all young then.

Anyway, I usually bought a card, a cake or something for every birthday on my half of the 3rd floor. February came along and I wanted to give Iked9 something for his birthday. I didn’t know what to get him but I wanted it to be something special and something of value. After a lot of thinking, I went to the bookstore. I purchased Invisible Life by E. Lynn Harris. On his birthday I gave him the book and told him that I hoped he would enjoy reading it because it was a story dear to me. He said thank you and I was off to class. I didn’t know when or if he would actually read the book or exactly what his reaction would be.

Two days later I got to my dorm room and there was a message on my dry erase board to knock on Iked9’s door immediately. My heart pounded. I wasn’t sure what was to be expected based on that message. I knocked on his door. No one answered. I felt temporary relief.

Hours passed and while I was sitting in my room there was a knock on my door. I opened the door and it was Iked9 with a huge smile on his face. He gave me a hug and we had a beautiful conversation. He said he was happy that I felt comfortable enough with him to share something so personal. I was happy that he was someone that I could share that with. Our bond grew tighter.

The next school year I only saw Iked9 a few times on campus and the year after that I transferred. I haven’t seen him since. I once had an email address for him but that account is now closed.

I have no idea where he is or what he is doing but I pray that he is happy, healthy, living and learning. I also hope he still has my book.