On Friendship

Friendship is a strange and beautiful thing.
It comes and goes in waves of necessity; there’s no stopping it. You are, for that singular moment – or perhaps many moments – engulfed by the overwhelming nature of it all. And then it slowly recedes, softly, slowly at first, before there’s nothing but a whisper, a soft lapping at your toes. But when you least expect (or by now you should see the patterns), it comes over you again. Quickly. Sweeping over your head without warning, leaving you breathless.
And it goes on like this.
A calculated tide.
A beating heart.
A deep breath, a long sigh.
That’s what love is.
True friendship is love.

Last week, after an accidental evening at the PS Lounge, Jacob and I walked through the park. I was overflowing with respect, with gratitude, with contentment, with love. Some of my favorite times are my walks with him. We find ourselves in City Park after dark, wandering, staying close to the edge. I never expected to know him. I certainly never expected to be able to call him one of my closest friends. But he is and has been. It was instantaneous. It’s as though he’s been a part of my life forever. And I would like to have him in my life forever. I value his honesty, his opinions, his thoughtfulness, his vision.

Katie is the same way. I met her my first day of high school. I remember thinking, “One of the cool kids just said hi to me!” I had no idea that I had just met my other. We’ve been through ups and downs (more ups than downs, obviously), but there is no one that I would rather have near me than her. Last Friday, she came over and it was like all the stress was melting away from me. It’s unconditional. It’s not difficult. I can tell her anything; confide my deepest secrets, hopes, and dreams. She will still love me. And I will still love her. I still get those butterflies sometimes, the kind you feel when you’ve got a new crush (do people still get those feelings?). I will never marry someone who doesn’t make me feel the same way. She’s funny and beautiful and so incredibly smart. I love her.

Heidi and I had dinner last night. After sushi and sake and some sort of delicious pineapple dessert creation, I felt sated. Her presence alone was enough to lift me out of the funk. It’s funny to me how intertwined life can become. I was sixteen and working at Dairy Queen. We were sent out to work another store when they went out for the day and I was carpooling with this gorgeous blond college girl (talk about intimidation!). Then it happened: we were in the car and a man cut us off. All of the windows were down, and without even thinking, both of us reacted the same way. We screamed a choice expletive at him and flipped him the double bird. Looking at each other, shocked, we both started laughing. And we’ve been friends ever since. She told me last night that she will love me, flaws and all, forever. God, doesn’t that just feel great?

I was talking to Kevin last night about a situation that has recently developed. Someone who I’ve been friends with for a long time said something that really offended me. And suddenly, I was done. My tolerance is quite high for these things. You can push me pretty far before I break, but once I’m broken, may someone have mercy on your soul because my anger can be quite a terrifying thing. I stopped trying to mend our friendship and started analyzing it. I realized that it was not a friendship built on mutual trust and love, and was instead built on passive aggressive behavior and my various attempts to deal with that behavior, but my underlying inability to tell her the truth about her behavior and assumptions. As I’ve concluded, I’ve realized that I’m not angry. I’m not mad. I’m just frustrated. And all I need for that friendship to begin again is an apology and an admission.

I told him that no matter what happens to a friendship, I need closure. I would much prefer to have a friendship die of natural causes than a friendship that ends in anger. Tension stresses me out. It happens, of course. It’s a part of life. But I would like to minimize it as much as possible. I very much dislike having people hate me/dislike me after really knowing me. I find that a lot of it stems from misinformation and untruths. That’s really how conflict begins and grows, anyway. I could care less about people who don’t know me. If you don’t really know me, you can’t really love me.

I’m very excited: my roommate in college and I did not end on the best of terms. But time has passed. We’ve re-friended each other on facebook (monumental, of course) and are planning to meet for a drink when I’m in Chicago. I’m thrilled. I can’t wait to pick up and continue. It may never be the friendship that it once was, but it can still be what it needs to be. It can still be good.

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