It was many years ago when I met my dear friend. First online, it was nearly a romantic thing, but long distances coupled with young loins never make it past a couple of months. He had his problems and I had mine, but we clicked very well from the get-go. Needless to say, there was a mutual love of music, even though our tastes were somewhat different. He tended towards a lot of grassroots stuff, where I came from a background of glam and flash. We still managed to have plenty to discuss on the tunes front though. He played guitar, which helped. My favorite band was Dream Theater, and his was Blind Melon.
Mouthful of cavities
Your soul’s a bowl of jokes
And every day you remind me
How I’m desperately in need
It was a random week that I had off of work that I decided to go visit him, a couple of states away. He was young enough to still be living at home but his parents would be gracious enough to put me up for a night. In retrospect, we hadn’t talked a whole lot during the preceding six months or so, but we had been talking for so long at that point that six months of scattered conversation didn’t bother a thing. It just gave us more to talk about when we were face-to-face.
And yeah, we talked and talked like mad fiends. We watched a silly program about an alien invasion, I fell asleep and he stroked my hair. It was all quite innocent. The next day, he decided he was going to come back with me to hang out for a while. He was going to visit his girlfriend by bus, who was another couple states’ jump away, and figured he would just leave from my place instead. So we set off on our week-long adventure of fun and mayhem.
And we forced each other to listen to one another’s music, too. Ugh, the Grateful Dead.
See, I got a lot of fiends around
And they’re peeking through nothing new
They see you
They see everything you do
Seeing everything on the inside, out
My roommates had just ditched out on me, so I had the place to myself; I brought my friend around my other friends including my boyfriend. The reaction from the boyfriend was harsh; never mind that we had a truly horrible relationship to begin with, but it stung that he wouldn’t even bother to get to know this person who I had called a friend for the last four years. I didn’t let it bother me though, as we lit off bottle rockets and I dressed him up in drag. It was a lovely time and it wasn’t long before we were cheating on our respective significant others. Eh, neither situation was very good and it was mostly a case of each of us being too dependent at the time to just do the right thing and break it off.
But it wasn’t planned, and it wasn’t something I would ever repeat. The difference here was that we could connect. We spent a lot of time telling each other how fantastic the other person was. And all of it was truth. Yeah, we weren’t going to date, and we knew that. But for whatever reason, we each felt like it was our duty as friends that we show one another that we were better than our situations. We were beautiful people with beautiful souls, and there was no reason to put up with being treated like second-hand trash.
Oh, please give me a little more
And I’ll push away those baby blues
’cause one of these days this will die
So will me and so will you
As time went by, we did meet up one additional time. About a year and a half later, he was looking to move, and decided that he had enjoyed my area so much that he would consider moving here. He crashed at a hotel for the night and we went applying and resume’ing all over the town. Nothing ever did really pan out, which is too bad, but probably for the best. It was a rather awkward meeting the second time around, and our lives had both changed quite a bit.
He had gone through one hell of an abusive relationship. We’re talking about your stereotypically head-messing chick who was selfish, manipulative, and extremely controlling. He hadn’t been allowed to email or talk to me, but she would email me to ask me things about him and how to make their relationship better. It was strange, to say the least. The whole situation wasn’t pretty and when it died, he kept going back for more anyway. It would have been nice to get him away from it all, but he eventually did end up doing that himself. Thank goodness.
Me? I was busy making a life for myself that was stable. It wasn’t as dramatic as his life had been to say the least, but it was slow and steady. It’s what I needed after years of bouncing around, dating completely wrong folks, making friends and enemies in the same breath, and having absolutely no direction whatsoever. I had managed to take my dear friend’s words and advice to heart. I still had a long way to go, but I was getting there.
I write a letter to a friend of mine
I tell him how much I used to love to
Watch him smile
See I haven’t seen him smile in a
Haven’t seen him smile in a little while
Fast forward some more. It’s now been nearly ten years since we first started talking to one another. We have each been through quite a bit. Yes, we still keep in touch. And yes, he still hasn’t broken that destructive cycle. He’s currently with another female who doesn’t respect him or his privacy, his individuality or his desires. It’s heartbreaking to listen to him savor the good times that they have together, no matter how few or far between they are. Of all the people I have ever known, he was the one that taught me not to settle and that I was worth more than that. Why he couldn’t see that reflected back to himself is just tragic.
Yet, I’m still growing. Slowly but surely, I have worked my way up the food chain into someone I am proud to be. Sure, there are plenty of lapses filled with doubt and discontent, but years of damage takes time to rebuild. But I’m in a great, very healthy relationship with someone I hope to be with for the rest of my life and I’m nervous but still looking quite forward to making the leap out of my tiny town into an unknown world that more closely suits my tastes and needs.
It’s hard for me to look backward at my dear friend who instigated such a huge turning point in my life and see that he hasn’t moved from square one. He taught me so much, yet couldn’t follow his own direction. Even when I chipped in to tell him that all of the wonderful things he thought about me were also true about him, he couldn’t get past the rut of self-doubt. He doesn’t play the guitar anymore. But he recognized when I quoted this song at him, he remembered the moments we had, and maybe someday he’ll have the life he deserves.
But, I know you’re laughin’ from the
Laughin’ from the inside out
I know you’re laughin’ from the
Nothin’s ever gonna come between my dumptruck and me,