I am grateful for friends.
We have lots of acquaintances and co-workers in our lives. We have blood relatives. But who really has a good friend? I have enjoyed the most awesome friends in my life. There are those special few; she’s the one you’d put everything down for in a hot moment and rush to, if she asked. But she’d hate to ask in the first place. Don’t we all need someone we can call without having to be polite or keep score?
The closest buddies don’t constantly try and one-up. Some people like competition. We all have it in us, but what could be more wearisome? In sports, of course, you want competition, have at it. Let’s go.
As an artist I don’t care about the impress-me-with-all-your great-accomplishments-and-your tight ass in skinny jeans or bikini (that one’s for you, Joce, I know you have a perfect body in heaven). I’ll celebrate your success and happiness with my heart if you don’t try to shank my good nature.
the journal Jocelyn gave me
My bosom buddies and I have been tight because of, well, pain. We understand each other with a glance. I’m not talking pity party either. The dearest friend acknowledges in just the right way and understands without question when you say “it’s not a good time.” They might want to ask about things but won’t pry and get into your business. They know that you would share if you wanted to. They put up with your inconsistent moods.
A true friend wouldn’t dream of betraying a confidence. Ever. Or back-stab. Good luck. I like lots of space and don’t like people getting in my business. Women (and some men) can be so conniving. Oprah did a whole show on why women are so….dangerous to each other. Chuckles. Generally, men don’t need or want to know all the details of relationships, how much you make, where your kid went to law school (Harvard, Yale or Princeton) and who banged who in 1995, or is it who banged whom?
Sometimes men make better friends but not when a woman is already married, of course. I did have a wonderful man friend once, Mark Walker. He was in his late 90’s when we met. He called me his “fiddler girl.” I have one of his red violins. He couldn’t see, couldn’t hear well, but we had some great talks.
My dearest friends have crossed over, but we still ‘talk’ in quiet moments and I dream about them. I have to be honest and say that I went into a depression when my friend Jocelyn died unexpectedly at age 38.
the inscription in the journal Joce gave me
My other dear friend Libby crossed over at the fine age of 93. We used to have the best discussions! She was not shy about asking for help. We assisted in moving her four times until she finally settled in Santa Rosa, California. She had lived all over the country and would say, “I can live anywhere, even Texas.” Rather than go into details about family drama stuff she would say, “it’s a mell of a hess.”
Times were not always rosy in my friendships-I may not have been qualified for any friendship awards but for the most part, I felt complete in knowing my girlfriends. No friendship is ever without challenges. It is that particular friend who will be honest with you about little things, and say it sweetly, like your hair color isn’t working or you could use a good makeover…the things that other women might not be willing to say nicely. Most people don’t tell you anything. Very rarely will you find another person in your career or job field who is honest. Again…too competitive! Looking for acknowledgement from peers feels like begging. My husband says that women’s friendships always sound too involved-with the over-sharing of personal information and I agree. I’m trying, I’m really trying. Why does that lady want all that information anyway? What is she doing to do with it? Sure I love a good gossip session, but only up to a point. Then, I’m done.
Libby had an uncanny way of telling me stuff that I needed to hear without being too direct. She knew I was paying attention and that I would get it.
The longest Jocelyn and I ever went without speaking to each other was four days. When she smiled, the whole world was happy. I forgive you for leaving, honey. The world could be a cold, harsh place.
Journal prompt: Write about friendship. Are you happy with your friends? Do you need lots of close friends or are you the independent type? What do you feel makes a good friend, especially in the age of social media?
Photo above top: 3 of Hearts nail clippers, gift from Libby.
Copyright © 2013 text & photos by Susan E. Rowland