Old Friends 4 Sale

Old Friends 4 Sale

Once upon a time, there were three friends and they went their separate ways, as is the way of the world.

Stop for a moment ask yourself when is the last time you thought of a friend, or group of friends that you had when you were younger? The ones that really stand out in your memory, and have staked a special place in your thoughts that trumps everyone else you knew in your youth. The ones that always have the power to summon feelings that you want to remember, are loathed to forget, and sometimes cannot leave behind no matter what.

Some folks are unlucky in love; I am unlucky in friendships. In my short life tripping through our collective existence, making stupid mistakes and brilliant ones in equal measure, I have always valued friendship and admired those with friends that are mirrors of each other. I owe my romanticism to friendship probably to the movies, where the side characters are undyingly loyal to the protagonist. The bonds of friendship are never spelled out; they just exist and are as empirically obvious as the sun rising each day in the east.

Every now and then, I'll catch myself alone in some very public place (like a restaurant or Starbucks) and I'll see a couple of guys, maybe three, all together. I don't listen to their banter or eavesdrop, but I'm drawn to the cadence of what I can hear and I know that they are good friends. They know each other's weird behaviors and idiosyncrasies, like and dislikes about women, the whole enchilada. I certainly don't know how deep the friendship goes, but I know, just know, that it's deeper than the few friendships I've forged over the years. It makes me think of those few special friendships I have managed to carve out, and wind up always leaving me feel empty.

I'm a guy out of place and out of time, the proverbial stranger in a strange land. I'm the one who originally couldn't care less about having lots of friends: give me a stack of books and the open sky and that's all I needed. I craved attention, to be sure, so I wasn't completely antisocial, but my validation came more from my teachers than people I knew. I wasn't popular, but I was on a first-name basis with plenty of folks. Maybe I should have considered that warning way back then, that many people know you but very few of them want to know you beyond a pass in the hallway or at the mall.

The friendships I have are devastatingly shallow, only the joke is that I'm initially unaware of it. Like a cancer that's lurking inside your body, ready to strike at any moment, I forge what I think are lasting friendships only to have them torn away. Ripped, shredded from my presence and my heart. One day, I am partners with two other musketeers; the next, I find myself alone and wondering where the time has gone, where my friends have disappeared to and why I feel so bitter. It's almost as if you pour your heart and soul into something only to be told at the end, "it's not good enough, sorry." And then, silence. You try to find that moment where something went wrong but you draw a blank. You wonder if the phone will ever ring and you'll be out with the guys at a bar or the movies, or playing football in the park. I admire other people's friendships because I cannot keep the ones I've tried to make. In earnest, like a puppy, I try to be that smart, witty and urbane guy who can keep up with a fast-flowing conversation: whooosh! There's goes another subject and we're knee-deep in something else and the cultural reference fly! You want to be the guy that others instinctively call for happy hour or for a barbecue. You don't want to be the work friend, although you're got enough sense of privacy not to always be around 24/7. You want to be those guys in the public place that I mentioned earlier. Simply good friends.

I'm no angel, no saint, but the friends I have (had?) leave (left?) a lot to be desired. I think I'm a fairly loyal person (you tell a lie and I'll swear to it; even when you're wrong, you're right) but no one's been loyal to me. I'm the kinda guy who will give you the shirt off my back (not a pretty sight, but you get the point) and I'll trudge home in the freezing rain and not complain one bit, one iota. But godamn it all if I can't ever get that sense of backup from anyone else. Not once have I felt that someone would go the extra mile for me, run up a credit card for me and never think twice about it; make me feel as though I was the most important person in the world, even if that person had a girlfriend or a wife.

Okay, I know -- I know! -- what you must be thinking: what a fucking needy little bitch. No, it's not about validation or need. It's about the small virtues of companionship that so many people just know is there. You shouldn't have to work so hard at friendship, right? I mean, you either have someone's loyalty or you don't. I am not a whiny type who needs to hear how wonderful I am. I don't need it, don't want it and know that doing things for others is really the only reason we're here on earth. Don't need a reward, don't want one. But damn if I would trade everything in my small kingdom for that sense of loyalty, or love that I see all the time in others. If I had that sense of knowing that there's something to catch me when I fall -- that's totally unsaid, unmentioned, it's just there. You know it deep in your heart that someone has your back. And it hurts to no end when you've given so much to those people that you love no matter what, to one day turn around and realize that they've left you without even a word goodbye.

It might be the way of the world for people to grow up together, grow apart and never see one another again. It's happened, happening and will happen again for the rest of the time there are humans traipsing around this globe. It's one thing to know this is life, this is how things can be. It's another to feel like you're the only one left.