Reconciliation is a funny thing. Eduardo always expected reconciliation to be dramatic, intense, and maybe even cathartic of sorts.
Turns out, reconciliation is just change, acceptance, and forgiveness. Not necessarily in that order though.
But really, Eduardo already had a little bit of these things before reconciliation. He had changed, he had accepted the situation, and he had forgiven Mark—and himself for that matter—for being young and foolish. And apparently Mark had too. He had changed, he had accepted the situation, and he had forgiven himself and Eduardo. Of course, Eduardo didn’t know that at the time.
All that was needed was something to put these things together, something to push things forward.
That something just happened to be a party that Eduardo attends on a whim on his increasingly frequent and mandatory business trips to Palo Alto.
One of his co-workers had texted him earlier about a party later that night at some Silicon Valley techie’s house, and Eduardo had looked at it but not really acknowledged it until he came back from his meetings. The meetings had been tedious and seemingly endless, and all of a sudden, the party hadn’t seemed like such a bad idea.
So he went, still dressed to the nines in his suit, and upon walking into the house he had been hit by a huge wave of nostalgia. The room was full of the kind of people he had been fond of back at Harvard holding plastic red cups full of spiked—legally this time—punch with old ’02 era music blasting from the obviously very high tech sound system in the TV room. He felt extremely out of place in his Armani suit in the presence of old convention t-shirts and cargo pants, and laughed as another familiar wave of nostalgia washed over him. So, it was only natural that he thought he was imagining things when he heard an all too familiar voice behind him.
“Wardo?” Nostalgia can be quite ridiculous. “Eduardo Saverin? Is that you?” He realized that maybe this wasn’t the work of nostalgia and turned around, eyes wide.
“Mark?” When he turned around and saw him in person for the first time in two years, he was surprised. He had expected pain, expected anger, expected twinges of hate. Instead he felt a familiar fondness and an underlying sadness. “I-it’s been a long time.”
Mark’s lips quirked up a little. “It really has, hasn’t it?” The conversation came to a pause as Eduardo continued to awkwardly place all the different emotions he was feeling and Mark shifted from foot to foot as he bit his lip as if he was trying to find the right thing to say.
Eduardo realized that there were truly no more bitter feelings when he looked at Mark so he smiled, walked over and asked, “How have you been?”
And that was reconciliation.
Now, it’s been two months. Two months of familiar smiles and biting remarks. Two months of Friday night Lord of the Rings marathons with Dustin and long-distance phone calls. Things have been great.
But now more familiarity is coming back, he knows.
Back at Harvard, he was enchanted by Mark and his concentration, his passion for the things he loved. Suddenly those feelings were coming even stronger than before. Sometimes when Mark smiled at him, it took all his restraint not to kiss his dimples. When they walked side-by-side on the way to Mark’s favorite Thai place he wanted to hold his hand and slide his fingers in between his.
It was a familiar ache, but it was also one he could deal with.
One weekend, Dustin waves tickets to a baseball game in front of his eyes. “Dude. You. Have. To. Come.”
“Dustin, I don’t even watch sports. I barely understand baseball,” he says, eyeing the tickets a little incredulously.
“His ESPN is The Weather Channel, Dustin,” Mark adds from where he’s sitting on the floor with his laptop balanced on his lap. “Besides, sports are stupid.”
“Oh come on Mark. They’re not stupid,” Eduardo explains to a pouting Dustin. “I just never saw the appeal of baseball, really. I’ve always preferred foo—well, soccer.”
“Waaardooooooo,” Dustin whines, “I have two extra tickets and they should not GO TO WASTE!”
“Okay, okay,” he concedes. “We’ll go. Come on, Mark. We’re going to the game.”
Mark looks up and gives him a petulant pout but stands up anyway, shutting down his computer. Eduardo’s heart aches a little.
The stadium is already relatively crowded when they get there, and the three of them have to squeeze their way past people of all ages to get to their seats. Eduardo finds the seats and sits down in the last one. Dustin plops down right next to him, leaving the last seat for Mark. Mark is still a little grumpy and bitter that he was forced to come, but he sits down without complaining.
When the game starts, Eduardo concentrates hard on the game, trying hard to follow what’s happening. In his peripheral he can see Mark beginning to complain about the game and Dustin arguing with him. Mark and Dustin constantly argue, so he thinks nothing of it. A few minutes later, he looks up at the big screen for a closer look at what the person on second base just did, but instead sees a large Mark and Dustin in a heated argument, so he turns around and realizes that although by their standards, this kind of discussion isn’t unusual, maybe it isn’t so normal at something so public like a baseball game.
Then, he remembers something Dustin had been telling him on the way up. Last time he went to a baseball game, he had gone with his girlfriend at the time. In the middle, something called a “kiss cam” had been focused on them, so they kissed and people cheered. He had described it as “exhilarating and exciting and oh-so-romantic”. What if this was the “kiss cam”? He couldn’t let Dustin and Mark kiss! Dustin and Mark are like brothers and it would be uncomfortable for all parties (himself included).
Before he knows it, though, he’s standing up and leaning over Dustin. Mark is in the middle of a sentence, eyes bright, when Eduardo cuts him off and kisses him. At first, he’s mortified that he let himself do this, let himself come to this level, but before he knows it, Mark is kissing him back, enthusiastic, and Eduardo lets himself relax and soon they’re making out, his tongue brushing the roof of Mark’s mouth. He pulls back before it gets too heated (not that it isn’t already, but it’s the public and he’s fairly certain there are little kids in the crowd), but before he can sit all the way down, Mark stands up and pull him back, kissing him again. People are around them are cheering and hooting, and when he looks up at the screen, he sees a repeat of the make out session, and at the end, the camera zooms up on Dustin’s comically mortified face.
Eduardo turns to Dustin, still frozen with shock, probably, and apologizes. “Um. Sorry about that.” He glances at Mark, who at this point is blushing and smiling at the field, dimples showing.
Dustin gives him an incredulous look and snorts. “You’re not sorry. Just, next time, give me a warning or something, okay? I’m only used to you two idiots making goo-goo eyes at each other. This was a sudden development. I WASN’T PREPARED.”
“Okay, okay,” he answers, smiling in Mark’s direction. “We’ll tell you next time.”
Mark catches his eye, and their smiles brighten.
“We’ll definitely tell you next time.”