When I was 16, there was a boy who kind of loved me. It was only kind-of; I annoyed him, too. And maybe this would’ve been just a little nothing-thing except I kind of (absolutely) loved him back, (perhaps not in the same way), and he annoyed me too (perhaps not in the same way), but anyway, the bottom line was, if you ignored the teen wiggles, we loved each other.
We spent a lot of time together. Not as anything other than friends: he had a girlfriend and I had a boyfriend and his girlfriend was a persnickety pain in the ass that didn’t deserve him, but my boyfriend was the absolute beans and I was head-over in love. The two boys were best friends so we hung out as a band of three and it was one of the happiest times of my life. They taught me to hike up hills and we stood on mountaintops together.
They challenged me. They made me want to be a better person.
I wanted it to last forever, but it didn’t. My b/f went to college a long way away and we grew apart (not enough to not fling our arms around one another a decade later when we met by accident in the wet evening streets of London, but that’s another story). My friend also went to college and we trekked up there sometimes to sit out on the moors all night on New Year’s Eve, melting our trainers in the fire while our toes still froze, or to clamber up onto roofs to smoke and look out over the city, or walk – just walk – and talk (although too often the best things were left unsaid), the two of us alone or maybe with other friends, whatever, the point is, we were together. Sometimes we just listened to music – he had impeccable taste in music. And then he vanished.
I understood, he had his reasons, but I missed him forever. He said once, we met at the wrong time of life; we should have met in ten years’ time, and he pointed at a bridge and said, we should meet there in ten years. Ten years later I turned up and stood on the bridge for an hour, but he wasn’t there. (I didn’t expect him to be, but couldn’t not.)
He travelled around the world and it was OK – we had our memories of the friendship and I enjoyed mine. I hope he enjoyed his.
A long, long time later, I met someone who reminded me of both of them. Someone who challenged me, who didn’t entirely like me but who made me think, made me try to be better – someone I enjoyed talking with. Someone with impeccable taste in music. Of course, we met at the wrong time in life. Of course the best things were never said. Of course, sometimes we irritated one another. Still.
This is the song for the friend I lost a long time ago. He gave it to me, and because of all the things left unsaid, it frustrated him that I never “got it”. I did get it. I got all of it, and I loved all of it, too.
It almost makes me smile; these friends would have mocked this blog mercilessly (it is a stupid thing), but they don’t come here, so I will have to be mocked another day.
We never had to be the same. xx