I haven't really told you about Shaun, have I? You merely know him as one of my Sheauns, the guy I stayed with last summer and the guy who lets me get drunk and cry on his chest.
But there's so much more to him.
I met Shaun in January of 2001. Steve and I had started dating, for the second time, and he invited me to join him and his buddies for Guitar Night. They had one night a week where they all got together and played guitar and ate and drank. There were a couple of non-guitar players, Ms. Heather included, who sang or shook shakers or just curled up quietly in the corner and listened. On this particular night, Shaun and McP were the only attendees. And since they were just so impressed by my singing, I became a regular with the group and saw them every week.
In the course of my six year relationship with Steve, Shaun became one of my best friends from the group. He, Steve, McP and I went on a few three day weekends together and I probably saw him more often than anyone else. He moved back to Boston for a year, but when he returned to Seattle, we all picked up right where we had left off.
I had always considered Shaun a good friend, but I never knew how good of a friend until he suddenly became my family.
Two days after the break up, I called and asked if I could stay with him for a few days. He said I could stay as long as I needed. And he meant it. He cleaned out a drawer in the bathroom for me and gave me his spare set of keys. He would text me throughout the day and ask if I had eaten anything recently. He would drag me out of the apartment in the evenings when I was curled up on the couch, staring glassy- and teary-eyed at the TV.
When I felt I had burdened him enough, and I went to stay with Jessica for a few weeks, I offered to give his spare keys back. He said no. He said since he traveled so much, I should just hang onto them in case I needed to do laundry or just wanted to crash there one night.
When I finally moved into my own apartment, I again offered to give his keys back. He again said no. Since I was having such laundry stress, he told me I could come over and do my laundry at his place anytime. (And in November, when The Fiasco happened, he started texting again. "Consider this your daily check in from Chicago! Eaten anything today?")
I spent Thanksgiving day and New Year's Eve with Shaun. He sat and watched football with me almost every Sunday, even though he doesn't give a shit about football and would spend the whole afternoon talking about how great Brady was, even though the Patriots weren't playing. He even talked me out of extending my West Virginia trip so that we could have a few three day weekends this summer.
Then, in April, I met Todd. Who, coincidentally, has a ton of things in common with Shaun (theater, graphic novels, music) When I told Shaun, he said, "You can't date him until I meet him." Well, Shaun was still traveling a lot, so after a month or so, he changed his tune. "You can't move in with him until I meet him." They finally met at dinner earlier this month. And I think he approves.
I went over to Shaun's this past Tuesday night, and as I left, I again asked if he wanted his spare set of keys back.
This time he said, "Sure". And I cried a little.
It was such a turning point. I don't need his keys anymore. And he knows it, so he took them back. It's like giving up a security blanket, or the pretty pink pills. I'm okay now. I have security (and laundry privileges) with Todd, but Shaun will always be my big brother. There has never been a doubt in my mind about his loyalty or his intentions. I knew I could let down my guard with him and he would still be a true friend. Oh, there were other men comforting poor Raechelle last summer, but I was way too broken to realize that they had ulterior motives. Shaun never had an ulterior motive.
(Or maybe he did. He's a guy. I'm cute. And was drunk. A lot.)
He never crossed that line. And when I confessed to him the Ginormous Bad Decision of 2007, he just looked at me and said, "Wow. You really screwed up. But you know what, Raechelle? Everybody does. Don't let anyone judge you because they've all screwed up, too." And then he let me cry on his chest.
So, raise those glasses!
To Shaun! One of my best friends. My big brother. My lifeboat.
I love ya, man.