There and Back Again

A Otto & Taren Story — Chapter VII

3 min readApr 1, 2023
Photo by Eduardo Barrios on Unsplash

It doesn’t happen over night, even if days and nights like those could become part of a routine. Nobody knows the trouble they’ve seen, and how through it all, both have struggled to keep it going, well and alive. But distance makes one distant. And if looking back from a distance, it’s almost voyeurism to realize how far two hearts beating as one could actually go, there and back again. And yet.

Otto had made this a staple. He found the buddy he’s been looking for his entire life. Someone capable of respecting him for who he is and his choices, and yet, care for him enough to confront his constant bullshit. That’s how he saw that from a distance. And to think that the end of an era as the completion of a destiny seemed phony, if not unbearable. Thursday nights like those reminded Otto of how his soul could entertain such greatness. Going out for a beer, a pizza slice, to smoke a joint, to have some fun watching random YouTube channels, that was the goal. Those specks of time were the foundation in which their relationship could find space to grow beyond the limits of time and geography. And yet.

This is why it felt so easy to Taren to just count on a blow up mattress once in a while whenever this whole thing blew up in their faces. It’s not like he did not try to find a job to pay the rent, he did, and he has been helped as much as possible. Whatever happened, he tried to look at it from a bright perspective. Whenever he was able to come back, it would be a clean start. A new place to live, a new and — hopefully — exciting job, and whatever that looked like, a new take on how he would relate to the people around him, including his dad, who maybe not so happy, would be willing to do the necessary adjustments to make it work, Taren would think, and would make Otto think. And yet.

It was a Thursday night when Taren finally told Otto time was up. They’ve been looking at opportunities all around the past few months, but the final thirty-ish days were the ones they pulled out the most. Otto search and called in favors like a miracle aligner. Taren had been to interviews and calls and other bunch of crazy things, but chose to tell the truth and face leaving town for a few months instead of lying and being stuck in a dead end job. So, they shared a final Thursday night beer with a pizza slice as they would for a while, and reminisced less than just making quirky new comments and jokes and thinking new stories. The night ended at Taren’s place. “I gotta change your address in my Uber account”, Otto said entering the building one last time. “There’s no address you could put up instead”, Taren replied. As they went up and the night got younger, they laughed together at the wonder in a wild that is the crazy connection they’ve found all those months before that. A whole year of staples and milestones they had behind. And yet.

The beginning of the end. An omega to every alpha. Otto, sitting uncomfortably in a travel bus all night thought back to the that final night out as friends, nearly neighbors, who would just text, pizza at 9, and defy the sheer fabric of humanity as they fought to make it work. “You married me, get used to it”, Taren texted once as an excuse to be late. The end of an era, but not the completion of a destiny, some would say. “Meanwhile, make sure the pizza place remains in the same place”, Taren requested. And yet, days and nights like those reminded them of how their souls would crave such greatness, and in the midst of the loneliness within, would never really settled to fly but higher than high flying birds, there and back again.




you wouldn’t even be here without a mirrorball (stories, movies and a dark sense of humor)