Are we there yet?
The Horizon Trilogy — Part 1
That a man would find a friend once over millennia is no more than we knew already. But that he could be fortunate to find multiple trusted friends in a single lifetime is a boast to all insurgents forever.
Days and nights like those Otto and Taren were living were extremely rare in both their lives. They had found each other and chose each other to keep companionship in a day and age when everyone everywhere was struggling to find meaning, connection, and community, but most, would not even realize what it is that their deepest and longest desires were actually looking for.
It all started in one afternoon, two months after Taren switched to the later shift. They would never see each other anymore, but it didn’t matter back then. They were not friends, and they did not know it could be possible to find such strong connections in a work environment that brings together all sorts of people, for better and for worse. For better because it rightfully fomented diversity in a way that was needed and right to those times they were living in. For worse because you suddenly had an immense group of people with different perspectives and desires and interests. Actually, in a rewatch, that was the greatest strength of that community of employees and what made them so god damn special. But not for Taren. He could not find any real interesting connection in such an environment. So when Otto passed him by in the street and invited him to attend a bar hangout later that night, he felt like he should struggle to make that happen. He knew how much he needed friends. He understood how much he needed to connect to other people, any group of people. They might not offer the strong emotional and intellectual connection he was looking for, but that didn’t mean he could not find a place in his life for them. This is why he sent Otto a text, five hours later.
“Is the bar thing still on, or have people fallen on their enthusiasm?”, he wrote, apprehensive to send it, and yet he did.
Now, Otto knows people have fallen on their enthusiasm, but has decided to lie just a little bit to convince this random weird guy that nobody knows a lot about to meet up with them. A whole day has gone by and after having lunch with Tom, they have decided to go home first and meet later that night to drink and dance at the bar which will also be a club by nine o'clock. Some people are coming, some are not. It doesn’t matter. Nobody needs to know that and as long as people ask Otto about what is it gonna be like, he’s gonna lie saying everyone is coming. So, he records an audio message.
“Not everybody is coming to the bar but a bunch of people is. Gonna be fun, you coming?”, he sent back.
Days and nights like these prove that life and love connect in the strangest forms, and use the weirdest concepts to bring two heartbeats as one in the compass of eternity. A boast to all insurgents forever.
“But isn’t there a thin line between friendly and romantic connection?”, the therapist asks Otto.
She looks him in the eye with attentive care, her wide eyes glooming towards the troubled twenty-seven-year-old that barely understands what he’s going through. He knows he’s not “in love” with Taren, that idea has gone by months after that first night at the bar which was also a club by nine o'clock. And yet, this makes him question everything. His mind travels at the speed of light trying to connect the multiple dots, Chekhov's guns, and all possible episodes that felt like some romanticism between them. Was that romantic at all? Is that what she means by that? What is love anyways? The opposite of love is indifference. Or is it loneliness?
“I’m not in love with Taren.”
Otto has said that multiple times those past few weeks. Between that and “Taren and I are not a couple” or “Taren is straight”, he has surprised a bunch of people who otherwise would just gossip behind their backs. That a good man would have his back to the wall is no more than we knew already. Why do people always romanticize any connection they see between two people? That doesn’t seem to bother Taren. He’s just god damn satisfied he’s found someone to walk with him through that time. The week between the first and the second drawing flew much faster, but also a lot smoother than the week leading to the first drawing. He already kinda knew what he was going to draw about. And after going out Thursday night with Otto somethings were much clearer, even with his currently clouded mind. He knew what was his goal. “Ten drawings till the end of the semester”, he kept repeating in his mind. He got home as fast as he could after going through the materials shop. He bought every single piece of material he could imagine he would need and thank goodness, he was off for a better start this time. He had to make it work, otherwise the two films he and Otto decided to watch over the weekend could be jeopardized by him, again.
That was funny. People seem to know them as the guys who watched a bunch of movies. That was a big misconception, to say the least, worst cliché yet. They have watched three movies up untill that point in what seemed to be a two month friendship, only. Of course they got to know each other a little at the office christmas party when Otto dropped beer all over Taren and someone coined the term Otto’s Baptism, which was a reference to the fact that Otto used to be a pastor before being disgracely set appart from church for coming out publicly as a gay man a couple of years before that. The majority of the people in the building and at the bar that night would never think Otto could ever have been a closeted christian gay. And that is why Otto was willing to believe Nina might be right when she said Taren was not only gay, possibly bi, but was into him. He would be delighted, Otto, I mean. He never thought about Taren in that particular way and never felt like he could be a little bit interested in him, and Otto, by his own account was willing to try it out. What’s there to lose anyway? Well, he couldn’t do it. Taren took seriously the invitation to drink and drank a lot, and between drunk and sick he was able to put together enough sentences to tell Otto how important it was to him to be out that night, his first night with anyone else after his girlfriend broke up with him, because, but not only, he, Taren, had no other friends of his own. That stung enough to make Taren consider bringing a bunch of random people into his life, but two months after that, on that thursday night sitting in the porch banch, neither of them said they could see it happening. It was just too off putting. They seemed so different in the surface, and yet so similar and so complementing as soon as deep called to deep. And that’s what Otto was thinking when he tweeted the thread that he used to thank Taren for the paced birth of a beautiful friendship, in gratitude for being chosen by the person he chose.
Days and nights like these reminded both of them of how their souls could entertain such greatness, instead of struggling to find reasons to believe or someone to blow the wind so their spirits would soar up to heaven. They have found what they were looking for, even if there was so much more to look for ahead.
And that is a boast for all insurgents forever.