I have a friend I never have to apologize to – a person who accepts my reality.
I have a pal who sat with me in the emergency room and told me stories about his father’s days in college while sloppy tears rolled down my face. I’m terrified of needles, but he is too. So we both just looked at each other and not at my left arm as we fell into hysterics and tried not to faint.
There’s a person who cares enough to call me when I can’t get to sleep. He knows that sometimes my own thoughts are too much to sit with, and so he will fill in those scary blank spaces with banter and wit. From his voice, I can see the way he moves his arms when he talks.
I know someone who made the walls of a dorm room a home. I would come back every night and dump the contents of my day on the hardwood floor, and then we’d sit there and pick it apart and then put it back together. And after she would take out her bucket and we’d do it all again. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
There’s a friend, much older than me, who speaks to me as an equal and demands that I expect more from myself – because I am capable. We could walk for hours together and we have. He’s the kind of listener who can bring out the stories you forgot you remembered and care so, so much about. He’s the kind of person who makes you believe that there’s a point.
I grew up with a girl, now a woman far away, who gives out her heart unconditionally. On my worst night, she found me and didn’t let me go, even though all I could do was cry. Over pretzels and salsa, she would remind me that home is where the people who care are and that I can never be fully lost while I have her.
I know that sometimes, when I’m alone, sleepless, or hurting, there’s only one person to go to, and she’s not as strong as I’d like. But she’s getting there. Life has been as tough as it has been spectacular and she has to keep learning and relearning how to be kind to herself. Everyday I’m trying.
Friends help, they really do. Loving someone this much reminds us that someone can love us this much too.
Photo by Julia Gundlach