Tuesday, January 1, 2013

People Let Me Tell You About My Best [Guy] Friend

He's a warm hearted person who'll love me till the end.

That's the next line of the song, but don't get me wrong, it's more than that. It's also kind of true of him.

I've felt that for awhile; that I had a secure place and we would be in each others lives. This happened as our friendship has evolved and strengthened, but this morning, I think I kind of really knew it. Or at least knew it in a different way.

It hasn't always been so easy with him. I've probably never worked so hard at a relationship as I have with him. I don't mean to say that we were ever forcing together puzzle pieces that don't fit, it's just that we struggled in some things.

We're not easy to explain. We really do get along wonderfully, but the reasons as to why aren't so tangible or clear cut. Some of our interests differ quite a bit, but we always have great conversations. We have a similar taste in movies, but at times we make sacrifices for the other in choosing what to watch. We like a lot of the same music, but we're sometimes begging for a chance to change the radio station. I'm pretty sure I bore him when I go on and on about bowl games and draft picks and college football rankings, and try as I might, I can only grasp so much when he starts talking about certain science things that he loves so much. But there's something in our personalities that just clicks. I know we have pretty much the same value system, but there's something more. Maybe a mutual weirdness. I think we drive each other crazy in the right way. That's what works.

But here's the thing that threatens us, the thing that forces us to work at our friendship: I am a giant bag of emotions, and he is not.

I can easily tell someone that I love them and really mean it. I only say it if I mean it, but I fall in love with people easily. I am open to my emotions and am okay if I have to hurt because I know that the love before the hurt or during the hurt makes everything worth it. The love always makes everything worth it. 

I think this kind of emotion scares him. Well, at least the idea of applying it to his own life. I'm sure he sometimes worries that I play fast and loose with my heart in this way, but I think he also trusts me. One of the biggest compliments he ever gave me was about this when it's something that I don't ever really think twice about. He said he admired the way I care, and wished he could love the way I do.

I'm just not shy about my emotions. "If you love someone, you say it right then, out loud, or else the moment just passes you by." You have to say it. Straying from talking about my feelings has only ever come back to bite me. I know better than to try and downplay or hide my emotions when there's someone else involved.

But sometimes getting him to express his emotions has been like pulling teeth. I am patient because I know that words are simply not his way. Or rather, I know the gravity of words for him, and how seriously he takes his promises, and that words are his promises even if you don't think he's making one. I have never stared him in the face begging for love, I don't need it, but I used to have moments where I needed validation. I needed him to do things to make me feel that our friendship wasn't completely off-balance or one-sided.

I remember having a discussion fairly early on wherein he made a comment something along the lines of, "you know I care for you" and I swear it was painful for him to say that. That wasn't even the point of what I was talking about, but he felt it was his cue. I appreciated what he said, but at that point it was this sad reminder of what felt like an inability to trust me.

I understand his trust issues and his walls. I won't say why, but I believe he is justified in having them or at least in his reasons for first putting them up. I also believe that he needs to work on taking them down. I would never rush him, but he is working on it. Admitting is the first step and he's past that one already in some aspects. I'm inclined to believe that he will someday meet the right girl who will love him in the right way to help him. That's how I'll know she is the one.

I've told him all of this before. He knows it. I've jokingly said that I've done all I can and I hope she can appreciate how much work I've put in.

I like that we can talk like that. I always think that our conversations are funny. I think our whole relationship is funny. Really, it's weird. We pick at each other like we've been dating forever, but we've never dated at all. And I know you should never say never, but we never will. There are people who will say that guys and girls can't just be friends, but we don't have this issue. We know that we don't want each other in that way, so it's easier to let other people's comments roll off our shoulders.

People often think we are together. Usually when they hear us bickering, because we do it like old pros. I'm not afraid to make a scene. I partly do this to get a reaction out of him. I'm kind of mean to him in this way, but I know which lines to toe - as does he with me. Now, at least.

I used to get mad at him all the time for not understanding me and my feelings. For not thinking. We've had a few big blowouts for those reasons, but we only came back from them stronger. Probably because we grew from the honesty it took to work through them. Truth be told, there is only one event in our entire friendship that ever really, truly shook me. It is the hurt that proved hardest for me to overcome. Without going into detail, he wasn't there when I needed him once. When I really needed him, and when he could have been there. When he was one of the only people who could really understand what I was going through and when I wasn't asking much except to not be alone.

My hurt about this was long and hard, and even though I've forgiven him, I'm ashamed to admit that the memory still stings sometimes. It was just a really hard time in my life. That whole time still stings. But maybe to some extent, the pain he caused was worth it because he was better for having to apologize. His actions stemmed from self-preservation, so before he could apologize, he had to really confront where he was with one of his walls. I think he realized that in order to protect him, his wall had hurt me and put a strain on our friendship.

I guess the day he apologized was one of those times I realized how he felt about me. That even if he didn't flat out say he loved me, it took a lot of courage and love to use his words to apologize. To admit what was going on with his head and his heart. To let me in to that a little more. So I know he loves me, even if he doesn't say it because he shows me by letting me in.

At midnight I sent him a Happy New Year's text message. I like to make sure that people who matter to me hear from me on occasions such as this. I told him I was glad he was coming into 2013 in my life, and I said that I loved him.

I didn't really think too much about this. It did for a second run through my mind how he would respond. He would say, "thanks", or "you, too", or just "Happy New Year!", but he would ignore my sentiment. And that's okay. Because he does not use his words like that, and I am comfortable in my understanding of him and his understanding of me and know that he will take my words in without getting tripped up by them.

He didn't respond, and I figured he was asleep. Which is okay. I know that he sometimes looks at and evaluates text messages before responding late at night. He knows my code if I really need him. I wish it was something fun like, "the blue squirrel flies at midnight and the cow stole the cheese", but it's not. No, he knows that if I need him I will text, "Are you awake?" and that is his cue to be awake because I need him and am about to call. This was not that text.

This morning, shortly before 6:00 came his response. I wasn't sure it was him. Another friend had sent me a text message about a half hour prior, and I thought maybe she forgot something. But no, his name flashed across my phone and I remembered that it was Tuesday. He always has to get up super early for work on Tuesdays.

So I opened the message, and the first words there were these: "Rabbit Rabbit." And the next words were these: "Love you too".

And my sleepy self was suddenly a little more awake. Because this was a huge thing. I thought, "maybe he's turned over a new leaf." There was love in each of those words. "Rabbit Rabbit" is a part of a superstition that I take part in, and I have gotten him to do the same. His telling me that was a nice reminder that he holds that tradition important to him because it's important to me.

But the second part?

I knew that he loved me, I know that he loves me, but it was the first time I ever knew it in the actual words. It may not have been in person, but this wasn't "I care about you." It was using a word that he doesn't play around with. It's a nice step for our friendship. Don't get me wrong, it's not like it's going to change anything between us. He's not going to start telling me that all the time. Honestly, that would just be weird. But it means that he has opened himself up a little more. And that feels nice. And it is good because it means growth for him. This will help him with so much more than just our relationship.

Truthfully, in the back of my head, there was this small, doubting and unbelieving part of me that thought maybe he just said that because he was supposed to call me the other day and didn't. But I know how stupid that is, I know that isn't true. Because he knows he does not need to appease me like that, and he would not cheapen his words that way.

It's nice to take something you have felt and have this kind of "hard evidence" to drive it home. Maybe it's too private to write about, and this shouldn't be on here, but he wouldn't say it unless he felt it and meant it. So it's a truth, and there is nothing wrong with talking about truths. I'm inclined to believe he wouldn't deny it if you asked him. He would explain it, and maybe trip over his words a bit in an attempt to make you understand, but he would not deny it.

I guess this hasn't really been so much of telling you about my best guy friend, but the title popped into my head, and who doesn't love an obscure reference to a late 60's/early 70's American television sitcom? And he will love me till the end. Because he doesn't say something he doesn't mean. And that was his promise.

But to talk about him like I said, just a little bit in relation to me, I would start with saying that he gets me. He puts up with a lot of my insecurities. He is patient when I go crazy. He indulges my need for things to come full circle or to keep certain traditions and rarely makes fun of my obsessive compulsive tendencies that manifest in the form of a few of weird superstitious rituals. He knows all of my tells for when something is bothering me, and he may not be an expert on me, but bless his heart for trying. I still have to take some of his opinions with a grain of salt, but I know that even when he's really wrong, he at least had good intentions. Or when he's had bad intentions, it's only because he didn't realize he was being driven by bad intentions. Like jealousy, that sort of thing, which is not a good thing, but in small doses helps you remember that you'd have to mean something for those feelings to happen.

I tend to think about lines from Toy Story's "You've Got a Friend in Me" when I think about our friendship. I've told him that. I swear, Randy Newman wrote that for us, even if we didn't even know each other when he wrote it. It just expresses how I feel about him.

"Some other folks might me a little bit smarter than I am, 
bigger and stronger, too - maybe. 
But none of them will ever love you the way I do. 
It's me and you, boy. 
And as the years go by, 
our friendship will never die. 
You're gonna see it's our destiny. 
You've got a friend in me"

And I have used that to express how I feel, and I have told him how I feel in other ways, and I have known how he felt. But there was something really nice about that text message this morning. I know some people would think I'm making too big a deal of this, but you just don't know him if you do. You just don't understand, and that's okay. You don't have to because I do. He's my best [guy] friend.

1 comment:

  1. His response to your text made me smile. Good guy!! :)

    Just when you're ready to throw in the towel, he surprises you.