Sunday, November 01, 2009

All those years I heard your name, I never knew you were going to be my best friend.

I heard stories about you. Countless stories. Sometimes about things that made her happy and other times about things that made her mad. She was sad when you went away. She always compared the rest of them to you. But you were just a face I had seen a couple times with a trail of stories pinned up around the face in my mind. Not enough to make a whole person. Not enough to understand anything at all. My friends boyfriend.

And then towards the end it was always more irritation than happiness when she spoke of you. Miscommunication. Wrong reactions. Disagreements. And then a rocky friendship. She invited me along to a bar, a bonfire, a comedy club,a road trip with you and your best friend. Still in my mind it was she and I, her ex-boyfriend and his best friend. I always saw you through the filter of her. It was like a show watching you two misunderstand one another and have conflict after conflict. It was a mess.

All those years I heard your name, I never knew you were going to be my best friend.

In my mind it began the day you went with me to get my tattoo. The first time I was ever alone with you. And I was so nervous because I didn't understand you then. So much more unknown compared to the known.

Last night we decided it has been six months. Six whole months. Or only six. I understand you much better now and instead of nervous I feel safe and excited to be around you. Even when you are sick and we watch movies all day. Even when we fall asleep in front of the space heater. I can't wait to find out a little more about what makes you you. And you seem to be the first person I think of when I have stories to tell.

This week I couldn't go home. Before, I might have cried on the phone about it to one of my friends one time and then pretended to be okay until it was over. I would have spent as much time alone as possible because pretending to be okay is hard work. But this time my first thought was that I could tell you about it. And then seeing you, I couldn't pretend to be anything else. And that upset me more.

Because I worry that people won't like me if I'm anything other than the bubbly, happy Sarah Jo I normally am. I am afraid they can't handle it or don't want to see it or don't know what to do with me.

So I cried and you comforted me and then made me laugh.

It is not just the fun, exciting days that made you matter so much to me. The roller coasters and bonfires and silly activities will always be beautiful things in my mind. But I cherish the days when you were sick and still wanted me around. When I cried and you made me feel better. When you were upset about something and wanted to tell me. When I was upset and you noticed and listened too.

I don't just love the silly, happy, fun, smart, playful, exciting parts of you. I love the parts that are quieter and slower to show too.

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