The other day someone called me from a company based out of Ontario, asking if I’d give a reference for you. I contained my laugh, and agreed to tell them anything they’d like. Fortunately they never asked any intimate questions, or pined for gooey details. Also fortunately, I don’t have a lot of that information. But they did ask how long I’d known you. I really had to stop and think about it.
“Twenty-five years,” I replied confidently.
“That’s quite a long time,” the woman on the line responded.
I smiled. “Yes, yes it is.”
It’s a hell of a long time. To be honest, it may actually be longer than that but I figured twenty-five was a nice number. I think you moved to town when I was ten? That would have made you eight? After so long I don’t think it really matters. What’s really important in recognizing that amount of time is that you’re the only person from childhood on with whom I stay in regular communication. It’s nuts!
We’ve seen some shit. I mean, some real shit. We’ve gone years without really speaking, only to pick up right where we left off. As if we’d only been apart for a weekend. And it’s funny because there are these groups that get together once a year for their “brocation” or “girls weekend”. Those groups make me laugh, like they’re continuously trying to relive their college years. Hell, half the guys I know that go on those trips fly to Vegas, fuck a stripper, get drunk for five days and then come home to their family. That, to me, is really nuts. Also, that’s not friendship. That’s enabling.
You and me though, it’s different. You’re the closest thing I have to a younger brother. We’ve relied on each other for so many different things. When I stop to think about it I can’t help but smile. We’ve had just as many angry arguments as we have supportive conversations. But our friendship doesn’t waiver. If I were ever in any real trouble, I’d still call you because I know I can count on you. That’s real friendship. And I don’t believe there are many people that can honestly say they have that.
Remember the time right after I got my driver’s license? I picked you up from school one afternoon and the way to get out of the parking lot was so difficult. The buses always blocked the line of sight for oncoming cars. I asked if you believed in God and before you could answer I put the pedal on the floor and drove blindly into the street. Your arms went up and you screamed like Chris Tucker in The Fifth Element. Oh god I’m laughing out loud just thinking about it.
You were there for me when I was at the bottom of a bottle. When there was no one else I could call you always answered. When I wouldn’t get up off the floor, you called and throat-punched me through the phone. I hated every minute and you kept kicking until I got up. “Where the hell did your spine go?” you asked. I remember that conversation like it was yesterday. I was so mad at you. I remember yelling and telling you I didn’t want your life like I was a quarterback in Varsity Blues. You just laughed and kept kicking. At one point I expected you to get on a plane to come and get me. I mean, shit man, that’s friendship. That’s brotherly love. That’s irreplaceable.
When your engagement fell through, I remember crying on the phone with you. I remember just listening and letting you get it all out. I remember wishing I could just hop in a car so I could hug you and buy you a beer. I wouldn’t give that up for anything. Without you I wouldn’t have gotten up, and I know you’d say the same for me. I mean…yeah. I’m laughing because I want to write it all out and let you know how much I love you, but you already know all of this. Maybe this is my public declaration of brotherly love? Ha! What happened to us? When did we get so sentimental? Are we really this old? Does it even have anything to do with age?
Maybe it has something to do with technology and society? If this were forty years ago would we still keep in touch this way? I think we would. I think saying it’s because of cell phones and email is bullshit. We’d still be talking, and maybe, we’d be talking more. Who knows. Anyway, I just wanted to write and let you know that I’m eternally grateful to the universe for supplying me with your presence. We’re both better people for it.