Friday, September 9, 2011

scar tissue

i was emailing back and forth last night with a friend of mine and, because we are getting older, we were talking about old times.  we've been friends for over 25 years now and have seen each other go through the good and bad events in our lives.  we've spent countless hours talking -- on the road, at the cabin in arkansas, in maine, on the phone, email, text.  we have been transformed from young idealistic college freshmen into haggard old men with mortgages, ex-wives, jobs, potbellies and in my case at least, a bald pate.  he's gone from ranting about politics and war to having children and ranting the trials and tribulations of changing diapers.  i've gone from staying up all night drinking and partying to hoping to sleep all night without having to get up to pee. 

we've had our ups and downs over the years.  life gets in the way sometimes and we would go months without talking and on occasion we've hurt each other in ways only friends can, through neglect, words, actions.  but through it all, we've endured.  neither of us have ever hesitated to pick up the phone and say: "hey, i need help." he knows, as do i, that call is all it takes and we are there to lend a hand.  there's been times in my life when i knew i could call only him to get me out of a jam and he's been there for me without a word spoken as to how it may fuck up his plans.  if we are fortunate enough, we get one of these people in our lives.  i'm lucky enough to have two of them and though i don't always say it to them, i think they know what they mean to me.  at least i hope they do.  because it is a thing seldom spoken between men (and perhaps women, but i can only speak for my gender), this love we share for each other. 

no, it's said mostly through deed and action, from long night drives to pick up a stranded mate, to the simpler things, like always picking up the phone when they call.  sometimes you just don't want to talk, but you know that person on the other side of the phone is gonna pick up if you call, so you do it.  you never know if they are in trouble and might need you.

last night we were talking about old times and he mentioned that our friendship was like scar tissue.  and i knew exactly what he meant.  each event, good or bad, creates a tear, either mental or physical.  a phone call in the middle of the night to say you're getting married, a scar.  a drunken midnight crawl through new york city, a scar.  a 36 hour cross country drive where everyone is so tired you have to shout just to stay awake, a scar. there's been weddings and deaths, births and tears and so many things that even when the other of us is not there, they are not far from our thoughts.  all those rips and tears through 25 years create scar tissue and while they are not always evident on the outside, they are there nonetheless.  you can feel them there just as easily as you may rub an old cut that, though healed, is still there. 

it's rare that we get to pick our friends, it just seems to happen.  little did i know that, 25 years later, i would be talking like this.  i have been blessed with people in my life who have given me a hand when i needed it, or just been there to listen when there was nothing else to be done.  i'm lucky to be this scarred and while i'm not sure what i've done to deserve such loyal friends, i'm thankful.  through my many ups and downs, there have been lots of people, family and friends to help ease a burden or to share in my joy.  but it usually comes down to those select few that we can count on.  it is to them that i ultimately owe my life and good fortune to, because they are the ones that have endured the test of time.

there's plenty more that could be said and perhaps will be over the coming years and essays.  but for us, it's enough to know we know these things and to have so much scar tissue. 

like i said i'm lucky.

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