How many of us have them?
You know I had to, right? I mean, how could I write a post about friends and not start off with Whodini???
I need to smile. Smiling helps when the heart is broken.
Memories fade, even of people who make what seems like an indelible mark on the psyche; the accuracy of the mind’s eye fades and mental pictures turn to dust.
I can’t remember the name of the guy who used to live under the bush behind Denny’s. I mean, it’s not like he was just a guy I saw every now and again and noticed: Christopher used to bring him to the house for a bath, would help him get back to his spot behind the Denny’s when he was too drunk to walk; we connected him to services to get help, which was great because he was able to get some healthcare and off the street.
I used to know his name, could see his face in memory, but both are gone now.
I asked Mr. Leonard to come to church with me for Easter; he was excited about it, reminding me not to forget to pick him up. He told me that he was moving because the store (behind which he lived) had been sold. ‘I’m gonna live with family’. I asked where, when; he told me Lake Elsinore and that they were coming to pick him up on the 17th. When I said that was before Easter, he assured me that he would be back.
Feels like a world away. Because it is.
I went to pick him up, just like I promised. ‘He move already,’ Ms. Chan told me when I asked about him.
I never took a photo with Mr. Leonard and don’t have any photos of him.
We were going to take one at service.
I’ll miss my friend.
I’ll have little reason to drive that way. I am sure when I do, I’ll be sad about not seeing him. It was a heartache to see the dogs he loved so much still there.
I wonder if the new store owners will care for them?
Friends. How many of us have them?
It’s important to recognize that a friend isn’t just someone you know from or are connected to on social media. That’s an acquaintance at most.
That person from the job who you only see during work hours? Yeah, not a friend or an acquaintance. That’s a co-worker and nothing more.
A friend is someone you’ve laughed with, cried with, drank with, prayed with.
A friend will tell you that there’s a booger on your top lip, broccoli in your teeth, a snag in your hose, toilet paper on your shoe, and that you need to cut that long hair out of your left nostril.
And it’s all love.
If someone tells you even one of those things and you prickle, they are probably an associate — someone closer than an acquaintance but not as close as a friend.
A friend is someone who you can go months, even years, without saying a word to but when the stars are aligned and you find yourself sharing space, it’s like you saw each other yesterday.
A friend is someone who is likely closer than some family, someone you say ‘love you’ to when you end a (once-a-month or once-a-decade) phone call and mean it. Confession: you know there’s some family members you don’t even say the three words to. Yeah, that.
A friend doesn’t prickle when you send that ‘was just thinking of you’ text message after not being in touch for months at a stretch — but is right there to say, ‘hey!’
A friend can say ‘you look exactly the same’ when you haven’t seen each other in 20 years.
And mean it because you haven’t faded from their mind’s eye.
You can say the same thing back to a friend because they haven’t faded from your mind’s eye either.
When a friend — no matter how much time has passed since last you were in each other’s presence — leaves to cross the Rainbow Bridge, it hurts like you lived next door.
But even after they Go, you see them, right there in your mind. In your heart. In your everything.
Because that’s love.