This afternoon, I have been sitting, staring at the screen, and not-working on a contract. Instead, I was thinking about the most beautiful man I have ever seen in real life: Q.

I met Q 10 years ago. The first time I saw him, I could not string coherent words together. He walked over to me at a party he was co-hosting with one of my best friends and I was just struck dumb.  He was all cheekbones and broad shoulders — extremely handsome, amazing body, just stunning. 

After that auspicious beginning, I met him again a few weeks later.

I was sitting in a restaurant with one of my best guy friends, who was a very handsome model/actor, and I looked up a 3 story glass enclosed staircase and saw from behind this man with an unbelievable physique descending the stairs. I leaned over to my friend and said, “that is exactly what I want.” Embarrassingly, it was Q and he was there to meet us and our mutual best friend (“MBF”) for lunch.

The chemistry was obvious from those first moments.  Our friends were all very explicit that there were certain lines that should not be crossed.

That summer, we all spent a lot of time together.  A couple of the guys were in a play together and a few more of us were working on a business idea.  MBF refused to leave Q and me alone together . . . he would linger everywhere we were together or would insist on meeting us for lunch or dinner.  One afternoon, Q left my place after a whole bunch of us had been spending the afternoon hanging out and called me about 10 minutes later, only to be told that MBF was still there.  MBF stayed for another couple of hours, just to make certain that nothing was going on and that Q was not on his way back.  

We were always very clear with everyone that absolutely nothing was going on.

Which was a lie.

Q and I had a little bit of an affair. He had a beautiful dramatic girlfriend, and I had my passionate on/off pre-A relationship, so it was never completely consummated. Ahem.  We would see each other when we could and we spoke to each other all the time (like hours every day).   

(I just remembered I had some photographs from my birthday party that summer.  In each photo in which we both appeared, it did not matter who else was around because we were only looking at each other.)

I know it sounds like it was obvious, but everyone was really oblivious.  They believed what we told them and ignored the reality.  We kept quiet our attraction, the amount of time we spent speaking to each other, and how close we had become.  It was the best move for everyone concerned.  

(To this day, MBF, who is still one of our best friends, does not know what was going on that summer.  We have both denied it to him after being directly confronted.  He brings it up to me from time to time, and I have never acknowledged it.  It’s none of his business and it would only be uncomfortable for him to know.)

After two or three months, Q moved a few hours away to work in a bigger market. I was pretty devastated.  I still saw him a couple of times a month, not always romantically.  We had become very close friends, after all.  We still spoke nearly every day, for hours at a time.  We took a week-long trip together a couple of months into the fall that is still very vivid — the shopping, the museums, the not-eating (nothing says romance like a shared maybe eating disorder).  

Over time, it just declined: he was caught up in his new scene and I was caught up in my on-again-off-again real love thing with someone else.  What Q and I had was not love, it was a deep admiration mixed with chemistry and a bit of lust.  We loved that we found each other and loved that the other existed, but it was not love.

The final moment was right after our trip.  I went with Q to a show to see my on/off (who was then off).  My on/off read the Q thing immediately and was so ingratiating and Q was so flattered by the ex’s attention that it was extremely disconcerting.  Honestly, it lessened Q a bit in my eyes.  Far too late in the evening, Q and MBF (who, of course, had joined us) decided it was time to leave.  I stayed.  That was it.

We remained close friends.  He even comforted me six months later when that man broke my heart — I sobbed in his arms in my living room upon hearing the news that ended the on/off relationship.  Q was in town, spending the afternoon with me, while I was home sick with bronchitis.  (Yeah, I don’t know why either.)  I can only imagine how completely awkward that must have been, but he was just amazing.

We are still very, very close.  When he heard from MBF that things were off the rails for me a few weeks ago, he stepped up to offer his love and support.  He also offered me money.  He’s still someone I speak to 2-3 times per week, though I maybe see him once a year.

So, I was sitting here, bored and distracted, thinking about Q and his knock-out hotness, and he called. He’s coming to town on Friday and wants to see me to discuss a new project.  That is true, but I know he also wants to check on me, to make sure I am okay.

For the first time in years, I will see him when I am single. I will meet him for drinks, trying to listen to him carefully, while ignoring how unbelievable I know he looks naked. Sigh.

I think this means I am ready to start dating again.  I will not be dating Q, but he may be the prototype.