Brian

  I’ve been thinking…thinking about people and their friends, and my lack thereof. I mean, I have a few. Caleb, of course, for one, and my sisters. And I feel as though they should be counted, even though they sort of HAVE to be my friends. Anyone else? Well…sadly my other friends were all killed in a tragic model-gasoline-fight.
 
  Okay that never happened.
 
  It’s no secret that I don’t like meeting new people. I don’t like forced friendliness and conversations about weather followed by uncomfortable silences. I would rather my husband be my ambassador–go out into the world and bring me back some friends, already made and molded into just the sort of person I could hang out with whenever I felt like it.
 
  I do, however, happen to have 2 people that I made best friends with on my own. All by myself. Alone.
 
  Nikki, a girl I met in 5th grade, is someone I (usually) regularly e-mail or call. The last time we actually saw each other was July 1995–at least our hair was a little better at 15 than it was at 11. She visited me in Florida–came over to my house, swam in my pool, jammed out to the musical stylings of Hi-5 and After-7, and crushed on my friend, Brian, who I am actually writing this blog for. Nikki, you’ll get your own entry one day. I promise.
 
  Brian. Brian, Brian, Brian. I will never, as long as I live, forget the day I met that kid…We were 2 wretched and woebegone measly little freshmen, sitting on the front steps of the school after track practice, the only kids whose parents never picked them up before 6:00 p.m….and sometimes 6:30. January 1995. After days of silently sitting on those cold concrete steps, one of us finally cracked.
 
  I’m pretty sure the conversation went a little like this:
 
 ME: "Holy Crap, our parents SUCK."
HIM: (giggling a little) "Yeah."
 ME: "I’m pretty sure my Dad forgets about me."
HIM: (smiling) "Yeah. Mine too."
 
HIM: "Maybe we should just split a cab."
 ME: "What? No! Don’t you know what goes on in cabs?"
HIM: (baffled and wide-eyed) "No…what?"
 ME: "Well, for one thing they’re the official vehicles of international diamond and ruby smugglers."
HIM: (baffled but not wide-eyed) "What?"
 ME: "Well, why do you think cabbies never speak English?"
HIM: "You’re crazy."
 ME: "Yes. And they sometimes smuggle drugs too. You never know when you’ll get taken down for a bust."
HIM: (smiling again) "What?"
 ME: "You gotta be careful. I’ll never take a cab. And I don’t do so well with cops who get their German shepards hooked on drugs."
HIM: "Cops don’t do that!"
 ME: "Yes, they do. Why do you think those dogs are so eager and crazy to sniff that stuff out?"
HIM: "You have a point."
 ME: "Yes, I know. Of course I do. I’m glad you get that."
 
  Sometime that afternoon our parents decided to pull up in their identical junky blue cars and take us home. We chitchatted everyday like that after practice. I liked Brian. He was quiet and he listened to me and I made him laugh. He made me laugh–hard. I liked his eyes–he’ll hate me for this but they reminded me of a deer’s eyes. I liked his brillo-pad hair. I liked his smile.
 
  We were inseperable for the rest of our high school career–literally, inseperable. We never dated or kissed or anything like that back then, but he was there for me a million times more than anyone else ever was. When I was pregnant with Cheyenne, he rubbed my shoulders. He put his walkman headphones around my belly so the kid could listen to Tupac and Montel Jordan. He carried my books. Much to my dismay, he made sure I never got to drink a drop of my treasured Cherry Coke at lunch. When I fell behind in math from missing too much school due to morning sickness, he tutored me until I was vaguely caught up.
 
  After Cheyenne was born, Brian was the one that came over and hung out. He read her books. He played her games. He ate whatever afterschool snack I cooked up, no matter how disgusting it was. He took me to our senior prom because he "couldn’t picture that night going with anyone else but his best friend."
 
  He was my very best friend in the whole wide world, and I loved him.
 
  We obviously drifted apart a little bit over the years–I got married and moved off, he joined the Air Force and moved off…in 2001 we both wound up back in Pensacola. It was like old times, only grown up. Movies, weddings, parties, clubs, and of course, hanging out at my house eating my crappy cooking and playing with Cheyenne.
 
 We toyed with the idea of being a real live actual couple…but it didn’t work out. I was newly divorced and ready to party like a rockstar–he was a little put out that I wouldn’t slow down long enough to so much as call him. At one point I was a straight up bitch and completely ditched him to go dancing with my new "girl" friends. In a pissed off huff, he dropped some Christmas presents at my house and told my dad to tell me to "have a nice life." Although we lived within 10 minutes of each other, we didn’t talk for 6 months.
 
  One spring day I decided to open the Christmas present Brian gave me. I cried when I saw it–a beautiful diamond bracelet. Brian had never, ever given me something girly, or pretty, or even remotely expensive. I cried harder. I missed my best friend. I wore the bracelet to work that day, thinking about Brian and wishing I had the nerve to call him up and apologize.
 
  That very day, as I was slaving away at the hellhole the modern world knows as Dillards, who should come riding up the escalator but that damn Brian. I froze. Would he think I’d been wearing and enjoying his bracelet this entire time we’d been "not friends"? Did he still hate me? Did he think I hated him? His words were nothing less than something I would expect my very best in the whole wide world to say: "Toni, I leave in 3 days…but I can’t stand it if I couldn’t at least say good-bye."
 
  And just like that, we were friends again. We went out to lunch and met again the next morning for breakfast. It seemed we had both gotten lives, real lives–made other friends, went to new places, tried new things–without leaning on each other. We’d even both dated strippers! We joked and laughed and I apologized…and he apologized, although to this day I don’t really know what for.
 
  Caleb reminds me of Brian, in certain ways. He gets me–he laughs at my jokes and puts up with my blonde moments. He’s fun and patient and there for me no matter what. He makes me laugh and he doesn’t take any bullshit. I knew he would like Brian and I knew Brian would like him.
 
  Brian moved away again and we occasionally talked on the phone. When he visited family in Florida, he visited me too. I got married, and he got married. We still talk, when we remember to call each other. We e-mail, we joke. Neither of us are all that great about keeping in touch regularly, but that’s what happens when you grow up, I guess. No matter where life takes either of us, Brian will always be someone I trust and respect, and he will always be my most best friend ever in the whole wide world. I know this because he wrote it on the back of his freshman picture that he gave to me one day in 9th grade.
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About Toni

Mom. Wife. Artist. I take care of the kids and pretend to clean sometimes. I can cook spagetti and I have never been arrested. View all posts by Toni

3 responses to “Brian

  • K

    What a BEAUTIFUL tribute to him.  You should cut and paste that into an email and send it to him.  I know he will greatly appreciate it!!  Thanks for sharing that Toni!!!
     
    Ciao bella,
    KC 

  • Normal Every Day Life

    That was so sweet!!   Almost made me cry!!  :-)   

  • Nikki

    I had cute hair at 15!! I got it all chopped off before our trip to Florida!  That was a great post about Brian! You really should share it with him, but leave the part about me crushing on him out. LOL!  

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