This past week I had a rather deep conversation with two buddies over Mexican food. I don’t know what venue your most profound knowledge is discussed over, but in my case I would like to state that the majority of my own spiritual enlightenment has occurred over a hefty helping of steak tostadas.
For full effect, download “That’s What Friends Are For” by four random British vultures on the soundtrack for Disney’s “The Jungle Book”, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.
When I was five years old I met my original BFF, Courtney Burtis. You may laugh that Courtney is a rather feminine name for a boy to have, but in my first-grade eyes I thought this kid was a pretty BAMF BFF and I didn’t care what his name was. And yes, I did just use two acronyms to describe the guy, so what? Although we didn’t end up being actual BFF’s, I thought our “Best Friends For Grades 1 Through 4” arrangement actually worked out rather well.
I have had many men in my life I would at one point or another place in the BFF category. There was the skater Colby Davis, the pitcher Marcus Moore, the genius Nate Thompson, the jerk Clint Merrill, the baller Niels Hendrickson, the companion Jared Mecham, and the fatty Holland Olsen. At some moment in my life, I viewed each one of them as my most extreme confidant, the one who I trusted more than God. These were my men, and every one of them had their own story.
This brings me back to the life-altering, head-scratching conversation over Mexican food. The conversation three men had while we told stories of the boys we grew up with. All of us came to the agreeable conclusion that none of the best friends we had as children were actually still our friends. They were in fact strangers to us. I haven’t seen Courtney Burtis in nearly 20 years. And if I were to have lunch with the kid today, I’m willing to bet the two of us would have nothing in common at all.
“Who is your best friend?” One of them asked me as we ate. Looking up at the ceiling and tilting my head slightly to the left I reminisced about some of my dearest compadres from the past. And then in the most heterosexual way possible I said, “At this point I must say I would consider the two of you to be my best friends. Where we are right now, at this intersection of our lives, you two would be my closest comrades.”
Following my extremely non-homosexual confession, the two of them each agreed with me that we were in fact all “BFF’s” for the time being. And despite the fact we did not have a bromance hugfest weeping our eyes out in the parking lot like most women would do after such a declaration, we did in fact acknowledge that our trio could be classified as “best friends”.
See that’s the thing about life that makes you stare at the ceiling long into the night, kind of like I’m doing right now. In one instance you think you have everything all figured out and that your path is set in stone, and the people you talk with on a daily basis are the ones you will be sitting on a front porch with fifty years from now playing Canasta.
But things change. People move. Relationships fizzle out. And sooner or later three best friends having deep discussions over chips and salsa will only fade away into nothing and be added to the backburner stack of casual Facebook-status acquaintances.
I don’t know when that point in my life will occur. When will the three of us all grow up and go our separate ways? When will the daily texts we have turn into weekly calls, then monthly voicemails, and then yearly Christmas card updates that we all just stick on our fridges, never reading about each others’ annual family events. When will I claim the value of their friendship to be the cost of a first-class stamp?
And when will I sit at another Mexican restaurant and tell yet another face in the crowd stories about some of my best friends from the past?
Who knows? I guess the moral you might be fishing for in this post is that you should take advantage of spending time with the people you claim to be your BFF’s at this stage of your life. And no, I’m not giving you some kind of spiritual challenge to call them and tell them you L-word them because one day you’ll never see them again. Who the curse word do you think I am, some pathetic Hallmark movie screenwriter?
Things change. Unexpected events in life happen. And more often than not, there isn’t a fairy tale ending for the people we hold the highest esteem for at one point or another. I hope and pray that I remain close with these men until Father Time makes me kick the bucket. The optimist inside me says our kids will get married and we’ll sing at one another’s funerals. The pessimist says I’ll turn into a hermit when I’m 30. The realist says I’ll move on from here and turn into a Christmas card update for these two men. It’s uncanny how that last man’s predictions are so accurate.
But until the day when our friendship is reduced to only being held up by a magnet on my fridge, I’m going to enjoy the heck out of these two guys and cherish every single one of the memories we make. Especially the ones forged in a Mexican restaurant.