Long lost friends

I met a young man in high school named Diego de la Puente. He was a bit troubled, but nonetheless he drew me into his aura of friendship over the period of Grade 11. He was shy to most people but opened up to me about his past troubles. I was able to relax around him- one of the only people who had this power over me, since my early years were full of wearing masks. Together, it felt like it didn't matter what other people said or thought. And if you were ever painfully self-conscious then you understand what a blessing this would be. What I am trying to say is that we were best friends. That is, of course, until my move to another province.
On Canada Day 2004, I boarded a one-way flight from Victoria, BC to Toronto with my family. I recalled the night before. I was holding a going-away party at the beach and had invited all who were dear to me. As I was getting ready, Diego called my cell phone. He informed me that he wouldn't be coming that night and in a rushed voice wished me a safe trip and a happy new life in T.O. I heard the dial tone. When I tried to call back, the same female voice informed me over and over again that the number was no longer in service. I shrugged and hopped into the shower, expecting the number to work the next day.
But it didn't, and never would. Even 2 months later, as I sat in my new house in Newmarket utterly alone I still couldn't get through to him. He had simply vanished.
It's hard to describe exactly how I felt. At first I was shocked; a year-long friendship down the drain! He had discarded me like a piece of scrap metal, not guarded like the gold I thought I was worth in his eyes. After putting so much trust into him, he had abandoned me, and at a pivotal point in my life. I needed him during my difficult move and he wasn't there.
But after the anger dawned a slow understanding. Why else would he have left me in such a hurry if he hadn't felt upset about something himself. Maybe something that he blamed me for. All of the rumours about him liking me as much more than a friend flooded back from my memories. Those times I had caught him staring at me grew significant, and physical contact was always remembered as charged. God- how could I not have seen before what was so obvious in retrospect?
My now ex-boyfriend was a constant bother to him, spreading rumours and thereby hurting me, aswell. I was labelled a slut and a flirt, just because I had a close male friend. I never cheated on my ex with this guy but that didn't stop my ex from spining stories fuelled by jealousy. He could never be half the man that Diego was. I didn't leave my former boyfriend because I thought I loved him, which I see now as need and comfort. I know that I had a chance at real happiness in high school with Diego and only regret allowing my ex to control me.
Later, I found out that Diego moved to Alaska as a result of a certain legal situation. I still keep his secrets. I know that he would never distribute mine. I hope that he is well and his life has finally regained a sense of normality. I only wish him happiness. If he ever reads this, I hope he wished the same for me.

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