He is not Lou but he was such a Lou Reed fan that when I hear that name I am brought back to him. I cannot explain it.

Here is something true: It has been years since I have truly seen him and I am still every bit in love. Oh I have loved others and I will love plenty more before I am through, but in each round of my life he keeps popping up.

I thought he was only going to be real the first time.

Here is where I meet him, where he is real to me: Portland, the first time around. Living, breathing, loving teenage eloquence and all that comes with it. Lou and I in love. More than in love; such friends we are inseparable.

Here is where I lose him: Sacramento, '96. Grown up and apart across miles and miles and no longer in love. It has been months actually since he has been gone. This is where it hits. It is over and it is harsh but we will see each other again, we promise.

I would follow him for years without knowing it. Seattle, and I would see him faintly across crowded coffee shops, hiding his ears in large headphones to drown out the sound. Portland, the second time around, and there he would be ten heads in front of me at the grocery store. Or just getting on the bus as I am running a half a block behind. Rounds in which he popped up precisely where I wanted him to, which was just enough out of reach to leave me wondering.

Years later and I had finally given up on him. So he would appear to me in different forms, different names. Ryan or the book store man, or even once, alone and in the dark, Elliott. The voices they used, the words they chose. All of them were him, and him as he had ever been. Rounds that I was not expecting, such quick feet, he is here and then he is not; surprise.

A breakdown on highway 18 just south of Portland, traveling alone. And here he pops up for round five as a mechanic. A voice just right and shaggy hair just as I expected. The real life Lou. Oh he is slightly more grown up but every bit as handsome and broken. He fixes my car; I fix his heart. He punches me hard in mine; I am down for the count.

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