All last week I was bouncing around excitedly telling anyone who would listen:
“CHRIS IS IN TOWN! CHRIS IS IN TOWN! CHRIS IS IN TOWN! CHRIS IS IN TOWN!”
Everyone: “Um, who’s Chris?”
Chris is my friend from the days when I lived in the crazy Co-Op house. He moved to Asia shortly after graduation. He’s been visiting Canada since the holidays. Last week we got to hang out in Toronto together….for the first time in 8 years!
I met Chris through my former room-mate (the one that I eventually dated briefly) Nothing romantic ever happened between Chris and I, mostly because I always got the feeling that he was more into guys than girls. Years later, we laughed when we realized that at one point we both had the hots for my Keanu-meets-John-Krasinski-esque roomie. Chris moved into the house next door to mine and we became fast friends, bonding over our mutual love for house music, dancing and quirky humor. It wasn’t long before we were hanging out most weekends, drinking caffeinated vodka coolers & dancing all night at places like Element Bar. When we weren’t having alcohol induced late night adventures, we’d listen to music in his room, watch Sex and City, cook dinner together and speculate on the behavior of our bizarre housemates (“Do you think anyone who keeps livestock in their bedroom has sex…like, EVER?!). We had a lot of fun together.
Chris was always a good friend to me. He never failed to cheer me up whenever I was feeling heartbroken over whatever ridiculous guy I was attempting to date at the time. He was nice to me when I was sick (when I got laryngitis for the first time, he took me out for sushi and we spent an entire evening where my side of the conversation was written entirely on post-its). I’m 5’4″ and Chris is close to 6’8″. The crazy height differential not only made us an unmistakable odd couple, it also made Chris my unintentional bodyguard. All he had to do was stand next to me and the creepy guys would scamper away like cockroaches.
On the other hand, I was not always a good friend to Chris. In my early twenties I was kind of self-absorbed and always wrapped up in my own on-going saga of personal drama. I made bad choices and acted selfishly (usually when I was partying, which I did all the time). I prioritized guys who really didn’t appreciate me over friends who honestly cared about me. I was a bit of a jack-ass. Honestly, I’m not even sure why most people were friends with me. Oh right, I was “fun”.
When my grandma passed away, my world felt like it was broken and everything changed. I pushed everyone away including the good people like Chris. I didn’t want to go out or have fun. I didn’t know how to explain to anyone that the “fun girl” – the unstoppable one with the dyed red hair, who ‘d grind up against the DJ booth, flirt with the DJ and dance the night away– no longer felt like me. Instead I just stopped talking.
During these months, Chris tried to reach out to me – he’d call, he’d email, he’d leave me mixed CD’s in my mailbox with all my favorite songs. I did nothing. By the time I started to feel like myself again, it was too late. I came home one day to find a note, saying that he’d moved away. I’d never had a chance to explain or say that I’m sorry. At that moment, I felt like THE WORLD’S BIGGEST ASSHOLE.
But, time passed and about a year and a half later something called Facebook happened and we got back in touch. Which brings us to last Monday. As soon as I saw Chris, I gave him a big hug, wrapping my arms around his waist so that my the top of my head hit just below his rib cage. After the initial “You look the same!“‘and “So, what have you been up to for…almost a decade?” we were laughing over coffee like barely any time had passed.
On Friday, we planned and executed the classic “Chris & Simone night out” which includes doing all of the following:
1) Drinking copious amounts of our favorite blue vodka cooler.
2) Listen to cheesy house music & have living room dance party (we listened to THIS and THIS on repeat a few times.)
3) Drink publicly, preferably on public transportation (we’ve “classed it up a bit” & settled on packing to-go bottles for the cab ride to the club)
4) Unintentionally alienate people on public transit with sexually explicit anedotes (a shout out to our cabbie that overheard stuff like, “He had a really small penis…but I liked his small penis“)
5) Lots and Lots of dancing.
On Friday we added a new one to the list: SHUT DOWN THE GAY BAR. At 3:30am we were the last two people standing on the dance-floor at Fly.
I woke up on Saturday morning with a brutal sugar crash hangover but, with a smile on my face.
I used to wish that I had a huge group of friends that were all friends with each other, sort of like the Archie’s gang or the 90210 crew. But, I’ve changed my mind about that. The friends I have are amazing and I have very separate, unique and special relationships with each of them. We may not see each other all the time. We may live in different continents. But, the way I see it is that my friends are like a giant box of puzzle pieces scattered across the table: separate but connected. When we come together we fit. As a whole, they tell the story of my life, the people I’ve loved and the places I’ve visited.
People come and go but, the friends who stick with you through the good & the bad, who make you laugh so hard you think your drink is going to pour out of your nose & who make years apart seem like nothing – these are the friends you should always make room for even when you’re “packing light” – because they are the ones that distinguish quality over quantity.
PS. I just wanted to mention again…WE SHUTDOWN THE BAR. We’re both in our 30’s so, TAKE THAT 20’s. We still have it.
How about you guys – any thoughts on friendship?