A Man Said to the Universe, "Sir, I exist!" "However," replied the Universe, "The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation" -Stephan Crane

Friday, February 03, 2006

Walking orange.

When I was younger my family moved around a bit, and not just from state to state, but from country to country. This means that I don't have any friends from when I was little that I've stayed in touch with. The friends I've kept the longest are all from the end of high school, and I still fell out of touch with them when I moved overseas (this time on my own) for university. Some of the other friendships I had ended as a result of coming out, making some people uncomfortable. And then there was just moving apart gradually because we ran out of things in common.

There are a few friendships that didn't change because of any differences to my lifestyle, or because I was living in a different country. I still didn't speak with these people for a few years, and emails were very sporadic. But still, when I picked up the phone and called them, we talked for hours. One of them, who I'm naming Bob for today, had been thinking about getting in touch with me also. He's been feeling the lack of close friends lately, and so we've been spending a lot of time talking. He's working really hard at university, and he's been very successful at it so far. This is all very exciting news for someone who was so close to him, because he's had so many rough periods in his life.

When I knew him in high school, it was as a boyfriend initially. We went out for six months, during which time we kissed twice. At that point it was pretty obvious that the closeness that led us to be a couple was really just friendship, and we ended the relationship. After that point we spent a lot of time together, and he is without doubt the best friend I've ever had. He's also been the hardest person to maintain a friendship with. All the stereotypical things that could go wrong in childhood (in a wealthy WASP community) did, his father used to beat him etc. When I first met him, he was the perfect son. He played piano beautifully, got straight As, he was maybe not as athletic as his father would have liked, but he did do martial arts, and was successful at that. He was polite to his parents, and could speak with adults without turning red or being rude.

After a year of knowing him this all started to change. I noticed scars on his arms, and when I'd asked what they were he said that they were from a bike accident. In fact, not until two years ago did he confirm that it was from himself. Watching a friend destroy themselves slowly physically like he did was hard. Even though I was close to him, he still couldn't open up and tell me about what was hurting him enough to make him want to do that. I don't think he really knew either. He ended up getting help, therapy and prozac. He spent some time in a hospital. I'd like to say that it fixed him and he was ok after that, but he wasn't. Only in the past two years is he getting back on his feet again, and managing his life better so that he doesn't feel so bad all the time.

Still, through all this he has grown as a person, and it almost gives substance to "whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger." He wouldn't be who he is without having experienced all that he has, and so even though I hate all the pain that he's had in his life, I'm glad that I met him.

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