So many times in my life I’ve had friends (“friends”) that professed to love me. I always took them at their word, thinking that if they said it, then they meant it.
Ummm, no, that ends up to rarely be the case.
Being (almost) 55, I tend to take these utterances with a very liberal grain of salt, since I’ve been duped a lot. I have only two long-time friends that I can actually say love me for me. It sounds kinda sad that only two people in the hundreds (thousands?) of folks I’ve met in my lifetime love me for the person I am, but I don’t really feel sad about it. I am, in truth, blessed by the undying love and friendship of these two people. My life is so much richer with them in it.
Growing up in a military family, you learn at an early age that you will always be the new kid in school, and, I believe in my case, did not form strong attachments to others knowing that. Prior to high school, I have no recollection of anyone, save two, that I remember. I envy people that have grown up in the same neighborhoods their entire lives and can name almost everyone in their classes, and teachers, from kindergarten on up.
“L” is my longest friend. We went to 8th grade together at Eastview Middle School, bussed from South Elgin, IL to Bartlett, IL. We were in band together, but I don’t recall us having actual classes together. Maybe we did, I dunno. Once we were in high school, band activities were a huge mainstay of our social lives, as marching band, pep band, solo and ensemble contests, and other various musical functions took up a ton of after school hours. A small circle of gals, including my sister “C”, routinely hung out. Many times, towards the end of high school and even after graduation, we few would go to “L”‘s house, get her brother to buy us beer from the liquor store a couple blocks away, order pizza, put on awesome tunes (The Tubes, B-52’s, etc.) and DANCE. Those were some of the happiest times of my life. We did, eventually, grow apart, however, within the last 10 years or so, we have reconnected in a way that has blessed us both. “L” has recently battled breast cancer, and I was absolutely heartbroken. We met up at a place called “Sauce on the Side” in Clayton, MO for late lunch/early dinner, with a group of her daughter’s friends, but the effects of the cancer medications forced her to spend most of the time in the bathroom. She had no hair and wore a scarf. She couldn’t eat but a couple of bites. It broke my heart and put me in a drinking tailspin. I had lost a high school friend from cancer (the third time cancer hit was the end) more than 10 years ago, and I didn’t want to lose this wonderful lady from my life. Thankfully, she’s done with her chemo/radiation/surgery, is regrowing hair, is working out with a personal trainer, and is back to bowling.
“G” is my next-longest friend. He’s more than a friend; he may just be the closest thing to a soul mate I will ever have. We never dated (he dated my sister for about 5 minutes…) and although we’ve been lovers, the sex is not what keeps us together, especially with 600 miles between us. He “gets” me — I “get” him. We are always there for each other, just a text or phone call away. I traveled to his mother’s memorial service two years ago. How could I not? The love between us is SO deep, SO much a part of my being, that I cannot comprehend life without it. He has medical issues that worry me — diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea — and I would give anything to live closer so I could be there to help. But I wanna live at the seashore and he wants to stay in Minnesota. He’s an engineer and ANAL … I think cleaning is overrated. He sleeps with a CPAP machine — I like dark and quiet. I think we could be a couple, but neither of us wants to possibly ruin our friendship for that. Weird, right?
I would love to have more friends like “L” and “G”, but that’s not realistic. These two people are so much a part of my heart and soul!
When I have work friends or other friends (i.e., people I know from non-work situations), and we become close, the “I love you”‘s start. Please don’t tell me you love me if you don’t truly mean it. It hurts too much when my trust in you is broken, and you don’t keep your promises.
“L” and “G”, thank you so much for being a part of my life. I Love You!