I was seventeen when we met, he was nineteen, 6 foot 4, and then as now a tough guy with a soft centre.
I probably loved Steve, within about three weeks, but I was far more sensible at seventeen, than I am now. I didn't tell him I loved him for about three months! We went out for a year, (just over). We were so together, no one doubted we would marry. But we didn't; he ended it, and still I do not know why.
These days, the 'why', has ceased to matter; because we are still friends. I doubted the true sincerity of his friendship for a decade, people told me he didn't really care about me that he was keeping me in reserve or as an ego boost. So I doubted, even though I knew him well enough to know it wasn't the kind of thing he would do. I suppose I wanted something of the love to remain, enough to wonder if I was kidding myself!
Then three years ago, I fell in love again; and Tony died very suddenly after we had been together only a short while! I was devastated, and went a little nuts (drinking, unable to feel anything remotely normal). And while the rest of the world tutted about what a short time I had known Tony, Steve was a rock.
He listened to me, phoned me, he was there in every way he could be at six hundred miles distance. I must have driven him nuts over the next ten months, every day I rang him. He would pep talk me through the afternoons.
One night I got really drunk and rang him, told him I loved him, that he was a bastard for marrying someone else. The next day when I rang him to apologise; I said "please don't stop being my friend, I don't think I could take that right now". He said "There is nothing, you could say to me, that would stop me being your friend" And there in that moment, I realised the love had changed we were truly friends now, with no untidy loose ends.
It shouldn't have taken a good man dying to show me he was a friend. To show me, what my heart had always known.
Love is forever, you have to let its shape change though, without screaming about what you might have preferred.
I will Love him all my life, nothing can change it....and you know what, it isn't sad anymore.
There are walls around my heart still, but they aren't made of Steve now (Tony saw to that) They are just walls; behind them I have two great men, they are both with me always.