Trust in me, in all you do. Have the faith I…have in you. Love will see us through, if you only…trust in me. Why don’t you..you trust me?
As Etta James coats my insides with these words in her soulful, trembling voice, I lick the last remaining drop of red wine from a grey glass rim and sigh aloud. A dull ache thumps in the hollow of my chest. A mixture of nostalgia and expectation, of letting go and bracing forth. A friendship is ending. A friendship is beginning. A friendship is morphing. And I can’t change any of it, any at all.
Nor do I want to.
There is that time in one’s life that you realize that you are a grown-up, and I think that moment has come to me. Finishing school, securing employment, paying your own bills…sure, those are all “adult” things to do, but hardly an indication of maturity. A monkey can do those things. A very smart monkey can, yes. Or maybe a very smart robot. But I digress. Growing up comes from the willingness to make sense of the nonsensical, to accept the unchangeable, not passively, but actively.
Have you ever met someone who in the least expected circumstances, dazzled you? Who walked up to you, held out their hand, said hello, and instantly put you at ease? Who never broke eye contact, nor did you, while the words flowed in between, swishing and building, cresting and echoing, until it washed away all the rest of the world, until all that mattered is the waves that they carried you on, as you soaked each other in?
Have you ever spent hours with someone, doing the less than dazzling things that people do in order to live: walking, working, resting, eating, cleaning. Have you ever found that the wave of words, however amplifying as they may be at first, eventually come to a calm, and when the stories of adventures have subsided, all that is left is the weather and the store, the TV and the friends, and all that is left, all that mattered, is the same mundane and consuming shits that matter in everyone’s lives? The content is the same, it is where it comes from that makes all the difference. And somehow, you didn’t feel the need to be dazzled, you just felt the need to be understood.
Have you ever tried to retain all that is left, to hold on to that someone who once dazzled you? Have you looked at him/her, sometime, while they sat there and spoke, in the familiar way that they speak, with the same innumerable quirks and gestures that you notice, that once endeared themselves to you like tiny octopuses but now reek of reminders of the person they no longer represent but are still intimately attached to? And you flinch slightly, almost invisibly, at those little lively octopuses flailing their tiny, strange tentacles, swallowing the lump of anxiety in your throat, and blink rapidly as they speak, and wonder how it ever got to this way?
It is not always this dramatic. Sometime, things just fade, and one day you wake up realizing it has been a while, and things aren’t as you remember them so. And a wave of panic washes over you with the urge to rectify the change. How, you ask yourself, how can I get things back to the way they were?
My dear, you can’t. And you should not.
Things age. People change. Times fade. Savour. Dwell a little. Then move on. Don’t mourn the living.
I’m not talking about scorned love. I’m talking about a simple, honoured relationship. A friendship. The kind that warms our souls and helps us sleep at night. The kind that is only a telephone call away and an email apart and a cab ride later at the end of a long day. The kind that is steadfast and loyal. The kind that is genderless, ageless, timeless. The kind that defies geographical distances and time zones. The kind that survives graduations, break-ups, marriages, babies. The kind that survives life and death.
A friendship is unique in that it is not family – which we are biologically bound to love and forgive for all eternity. Nor is it a romantic relationship – which we are illogically bound to love and forgive for as long as it lasts. A friendship is pure and clear and…embracing. A good friendship is warm and soothing. A great friendship defies description.
But within its embracing nature is the potential for collapse. We wrap our arms around all that we see, and all that we don’t. We buy it all, and hope for the best. Sometimes, the treasure groves get deeper and deeper. Other times, surprises await us as we dig, and they may not fit nicely into all that we hoped for and expected of. Do we settle in for the long haul, or do we bail while we can? When is it too deep to retreat? How much responsibility do we have to afford the benefit of doubt?
There is no right answer. I don’t know it. I’m still searching. Fumbling. Doing my best as I amble forward amongst the jobs and bills and dazzling treasures and tiny octopuses.
What I do know is that, in this crazy world where adults see with their wallets instead of their ethics, where children want to be reality TV stars who are not real, and where technology ties us closer together than ever while binding us each in our individual, translucent virtual bubble, eyes glued to screens, headphones-plugged, as we breathe and walk alongside each other, I know that in this world where so many things do not make sense, that the things that do make sense, I want to keep.
And when those things stop making sense, I want to let them go.
Because I am thankful that for a while, they and I made sense for each other, and we stayed warm and slept well.
Because I know that somewhere down the road and around the corner, another nonsensical thing awaits, and when I stumble upon it, we will both hold out our hands, and maybe we will together, make sense of it all.