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Over the past three months, Ben and I have gotten extremely close. Closer than our friendship was before I was in the US in July. Closer than we were the night I arrived back. I can’t describe it. Something has changed. We talk nearly everyday. We see each other a couple times a week. The sex is getting more intense and our time together is getting nicer, sweeter. Again, it’s difficult to describe, but I have really been enjoying it, blind to what might possibly come down the pike.

Ben, I might have told you, has quit his job and is leaving his apartment on Thursday. Ben’s next step is to go on an extended vacation to India, or Thailand, or Zanzibar, or China, or Australia, or wherever he is wont to go. For the last month or so, talks of this trip have been just that – talks about a trip. “I’ll be gone for 3 month,” or “2-3 months and my head will be clear,” or “I’ll be back after the winter” were all phrases I heard from Ben regularly regarding his plans.

Yesterday, for the first time, I heard him say, “but, I’m flying and I don’t know if I’ll be back.” What?!?!?!

He says that if he can find a life for himself somewhere that life is easier to live, he has no good reason not to stay and pursue it. “Sometimes, it’s easier to succeed in a new place where you have no choice, than at home where you have the potential to fail.” I guess he’s right. I can surely relate and who am I, really, to tell him not to try and see if the grass really is greener on the other side. I can’t tell him not to go, I would be such a hypocrite.

So, what did I say? How did I respond to the information smacking me in the face? I told him that he needs to do what he thinks is best for himself but that I will miss him very, very much. And I said this with the utmost sincerity. No games, no flirting, just facts: if Ben leaves and does not return, I will miss him terribly. Ben’s response was heart-breakingly perfect: “I will really miss you too. You and many other things. Look, it’s not that I don’t love it here – I do love living here. I just wish I would find a way to not live like a dog here…” Spoken with his strong, deep voice, looking at me through his dark brown, searching eyes, as he slowly rolled a cigarette. It was all I could do to stop myself from tearing up.

He even told me, “you know, I’ve reached a point where I am more comfortable expressing myself in English than in Hebrew. I just have more words to explain what I’m thinking in English.” TELL ME that this is not an effect of spending so much time with me… This time last year, he was saying to me “and you don’t speak Hebrew so, you really don’t know me because I can’t be myself in English. I’m nicer in English.”

There used to be a small place in my head and my heart that was dedicated to Ben. I cleaned out the cobwebs in his corner every now and then and we had fun. Recently, that space reserved for him has grown involuntarily. We have become so close. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without him in it. And I can’t imagine a life without him going forward.

Tonight is Ben’s last night in his apartment. I think we have plans to have one last hurrah in the apartment before he vacates. From here, he goes to stay at his parents’ house for a week. From there, he’s staying at his brother’s apartment while he is on reserve duty for the army. It’s possible that by this time next month, I will be saying goodbye to Ben as he gets ready to begin his great adventure.

I hate that idea.

On the other hand, he hasn’t bought a plane ticket yet, so I suppose anything is still possible. I don’t want him to be unhappy but I really don’t want him to leave. And he would never stay for me, and even if he would I would never ask him to.