Recently I found out that one of my friends will eat just about anything. This is always something that I like about life-- when you think you have a firm grasp on what the people around you are like and then BAM! "He likes A1 sauce on his Rice Crispies."
"Yeah. I was in the kitchen, eating some chicken and vegetables and he was totally munching away on this bowl of Rice Crispies with A1 sauce all over it. And it looked pretty tasty."
"Once I saw him put Jelly on his pizza."
"He put jelly on his pizza? Like grape?"
"It might have been strawberry. I dunno. But he munched down on it like it was the tastiest thing ever."
"He let me have a bite. And I have to admit, it was pretty damn good. Salty and sweet at the same time."
This is the magic of my friends. Many years, many experiences will occur, but there's always some new magic around the corner- like a fairy that hangs out in alleys blowing dust in your eyes when you least expect it.
"When my Dad was dying, me and my sister were totally sad and sitting by his bed. He was telling stories and- and- this one story he told-"
"Was it all sad?"
"No. No. It was about his eyeball popping out."
"So he's laying in bed, dying, and he's talking about being on this airplane. And, like the medications he was on and just the stress of his illness, in combination with the change in pressure on the airplane- it made his eyeball pop out."
"Holy shit. What did he do?"
"Well he was all paranoid about the person next to him seeing his eyeball hanging out, so he kind of covered his face and pushed it back in. We were laughing our asses off. I mean, he's all sick and puking and is about to die, but we're all totally laughing our asses off."
"Well, when my Dad was dying the family took bets on who would die first- him or our really, really, really old dog."
"Yeah. He bet on himself. He won, but we got to keep the 20 bucks."
Sometimes you discover that your friends have strength. Sure, you knew they were strong, but they can flex one part of their personality that you never noticed before. And to see them in this new light makes you fall more in platonic love with them.
"It was really kind of scary. I mean, I didn't know what he wanted from me. I didn't know if he was expecting me to make him feel better or if he was trying to make me feel better. And we sat there in this kind of awkward conversation. And finally I said to myself, 'This is bullshit. This is not cool.' And I looked at him and I said straight to him what I was feeling and what I was thinkng. He didn't make eye contact with me the whole time I was talking to him. Finally he just dropped his chin to his chest and said "Okay" and we left and we went through the motions of it all and it just sucked. Because I was crying and I think that he thought it was about him when really it wasn't. And that just made me more mad. Because he hasn't been there for me and for him to think that all of this sadness was for him was just ridiculous."
No matter how big they appear, no matter how much confidence they leak out of their pores, I'm always touched at how much they allow themselves to hurt. But they don't bathe in the pain of this hurt, instead they take it and they hug it until it pops and they live and they learn.
"We're moving to New York."
And sometimes your friends have to move away. Not because they don't love you, but because they have to go. They've got their own "What ifs?" and if they don't answer them they'll feel like shit.
"But- but- what about all of this stuff that we've accomplished?"
"We have to expand. We've got so much to show everyone out there. We can't stay here any more. We have to take cuttings from the tree we've planted together and start orchards in other cities."
"That's so poetic."
"Come with us."
"I'll miss you."
"We'll miss you, too."
And I've said "We'll be friends forever" to so many people before. The majority I haven't talked to in years. Such is the way. It's not that I stopped caring for them, it's that I've realized that life changes and people tend to change with it. Myself included. It's a harsh reality.
In the meantime, it's nice to think that perhaps this time it will be different. Perhaps.