Thank you for being the friend I needed when I was forced to return to our small hometown for a couple of years. My prospects were dim, moving back into my mother’s house without a job or any direction, but with a degree in my hand. Despite us never really being friends growing up, over those two years of mutual struggle you became one of my best friends. It’s funny to think about how that came to be, considering that we barely knew each other at the time of my return home. I attribute our friendship to your best friend actually, Steve, and the fact that him and I were secretly sleeping together and you were one of the only souls who knew about it. You kept our secret well, but were not shy about calling us out on it. Before our friendship truly began, I recall you calling Steve at one point and literally telling him – “Pull your dick out of her and come hang out with me!”, and that’s when I knew that we would get along famously.
I can always count on you to call it like you see it, yet be the friend who is there to help cheer you up after you’ve been smacked with a dose of reality. Your house was a no-bullshit zone and someplace where I felt safe to truly be myself, no matter how different my habits were from the rest of the people who gathered for your friendship. I could express my points of view without apology, for you would either take them or leave them. You accepted my liberal points of view and hippie habits, and even found a way to join me in them despite it contradicting your ingrained mild racism and machismo status. I cherish all those times you called by a “Fucking Hippie” and then assisted me with collecting flowers for my flower chain crown. Or when you joined me at a music festival and were happy on your own when I had decided to dive into the crowd to dedicate myself to dancing. Or all of those times we drunkenly danced together at the bars or in the streets to the rhythm in our head, spinning each other round until we lost our balance or our breath. And the numerous occasions where you forced country music into my ears, against my wishes, with a maniacal laugh and singing along at the top of your lungs. Most of all I think, I cherish the countless nights we spent together, not speaking a word, smoking spliffs and star gazing. You allowed me to truly be myself, and did not have any judgment of the internal struggle I was obviously traversing through. I felt like the most popular person in the world every time I walked through your door and was greeted by Ochie’s kisses and your lifted hugs.
Since I no longer can just stop by your house unannounced on my way home from work, nor wander over for Sunday football and cooking, I want to remind you of what an amazing person you are. You are the friend who I can count on to call after years of not speaking, say that I really need your help right now, and you would be on my doorstep within five minutes. You are loyal to a fault, and share your love in subtle ways, but with full commitment. Although you fancied at one point that you could be a player like me, you are a lover and a romantic, and Kate is lucky to have such a loving man dedicated to her. Although you have the hardened outer appearance of a bulked-out-bro, your bleeding heart shows through if people will only take the time to look long enough. You are a supportive, caring brother who practically raised the ones who came afer you, and instilled undendiable morals, while fudging them just slightly for your own purposes. You were placed into an unfair reality at a young age, and took it as an excuse to grow into a man and love with your whole heart. I love you my friend, and I am excited to see you again soon – my light hearted soul and confidence have been missing you.
P.S. I hope that you have not become complacent with pursuing your plans to create your own life and not follow in the well-tread steps of your family. You are smart and dedicated, and I have complete faith that you will go on to do great things with your life, if only you truly allow yourself that opportunity. Please do not settle. I expect more from you than that.