It’s difficult to tell this story, because only half of it is mine. The other half belongs to someone else, who likely doesn’t want their part told. So I’ll do my best to be true to both halves, while being true to both selves.
I have a friend. As they said earlier this evening, if someone had once told them that one night, they would be sitting, talking to me and sharing some of their deepest secrets, they would have laughed their asses off. I have to say, if someone had told me that we would be sitting, talking and they would be sharing some of their deepest secrets, I would have laughed my ass off.
In spite of us knowing each other for 36 or so years, we’ve only been friends for about the last four. Before that, hate would be too strong a word to describe our relationship, because that would have meant feeling something. I truly felt nothing. They were a non-entity, moving in much different circles than my own. When we were younger, I saw them as weak; if I could deal with all my problems without delving into the things they did, then they did not deserve my attention, and most definitely not my respect.
But something happened today. They hit a rough patch. Because I would not be here if it weren’t for my best friend recognizing my rough patch, I realized that they needed a friend, even if they didn’t realize it themselves. Honestly, they couldn’t understand why I was calling, and why I was insisting that we were getting together. I gave them a choice of meeting somewhere, or hanging out at their house. They chose to meet. Throughout the day, they called me twice, both times confused as to what my motive truly must be.
My only motive was to be a friend. I wanted to be the kind of friend that I am lucky enough to have. I was starting to suspect that they had never had such a thing before. They kept saying they had friends, which I know they do, but I explained that they were going to sit with me and talk, and they weren’t getting a choice in the matter. I didn’t give a shit if we sat around discussing the weather, they were going to talk about anything that they wanted, and I was going to listen, without judging.
That is what we did. We sat on a park bench and they talked and I listened. They talked about things both important and not. We laughed and kidded, and I learned that for 32 years, I was a judgemental bitch. I only saw the outside, and just assumed that the inside matched. I could not possibly have been more wrong. The more we talked, the more I realized that I was sitting next to a truly beautiful, strong, resilient, brave, caring person. I am honored to be their friend, and honored that they consider me as such.
“Sometimes I see myself fine, sometimes I need a witness. And I like the whole truth, but there are nights I only need forgiveness. Sometimes they say, ‘I don’t know who you are, but let me walk with you some.’ And I say, ‘I am alone, that’s all, you can’t save me from all the wrong I’ve done.’ But they’re waiting just the same, with their flashlights and their semaphores, and I act like I have faith, and that faith never ends…but I really just have friends.”