So I have had a tugging at the back of my throat all afternoon. It's too much to bear, and it's not even mine to bear really. I don't want to write about it really, because it's not fair. It's not mine, it's his, that's why.
Something occurred to me though, even as I was sitting down to write this. Sometimes you have no idea what shifts have happened inside of you, no awareness of them whatsoever. It's not that you are ignoring them. They just come to flow rather seamlessly into your life, and there was no need to make an announcement, record the moment.
But then something happens and you have to take note. As I've been on the brink of tears this afternoon, it occurs to me. My oldest friend in the whole wide world is not speaking to me currently. I love him dearly, still, but he's always someone with whom I have had an oscillating relationship- he comes and goes, we have our highs and our lows, yet somehow I always viewed him as a constant. And somehow, regardless of whatever had come to pass between us, he was always the one person I unleashed upon. When I had a case of the mean reds, when I fell on black days, when I was in a downward spiral, I always felt he was the person I could tell. He always indulged me.
I didn't even notice it, never paid attention to the change in tide. I suppose I should have. When I felt like The Goal was unattainable and crushing me, RR was the one giving me pep talks, telling me to suck it up and make it happen. When Q popped back into my life and I started entertaining allowing myself to get pulled back into a truly unproductive situation, it was RR sitting me down and pointing out how obviously stupid and self-destructive my impulse was. We used to waste time at work bullsh*tting about pop culture, or about my problem, because one of RR's favorite pasttimes is figuring out why I'm single (which is sort of a compliment, kind of)- when he's hypothesizing, he always starts with "you know what your problem is?"
Opposite of me in so many ways. OCD to my slob. Gordon Gecko capitalist to my pinko liberal socialist. He's quick to call someone out for stupidity, I'm quick to note it for a future anecdote. He hates being alone, I can think of nothing better. The only guy I know who likes to talk about feelings, the only girl he knows who runs out of the room when the topic comes up. He teased me for over a year because I characterized us as work friends a long time back.
A really long time back it seems. Because somewhere along the way, he became my closest friend. I don't know how it happened. Maybe it was his ability to say just the right thing at just the right moment, his bottomless reservoir of humor, and the feeling that he always is on my side, always hoping I'll get what I want, even if it makes him jealous or takes me away from what is convenient for him.
It didn't really matter before. I don't like to talk about best friends- it seems like a term you use in 5th grade, when it means nothing and you have a new BFF every month or so. I probably try not to use the term for that reason. Best is superlative, it means something permanent to me, and I have a long-standing distrust of permanence, especially where relationships are concerned. We're constantly evolving and different people grow closer to us and others grow further apart. So I try not to dwell on it and just let it happen. My oldest friend has grown distant, and that is sad, but it happens. All you can hope with your closest friends is that they always stay in your life.
But RR is as close to a best friend as can be had. It didn't really matter before. He told me I was his once, but hilariously finished the sentence with a hurried "and I know that makes your skin crawl and you don't have to say that I'm yours". If it would not hurt him more to say it right now, I would tell him I realized today how much of a part of my life he is. I could tell because, as his world was falling apart, as he had gone weightless and found himself tumbling uncomfortably around, I could feel it too. I felt the sucker punch, the pinch in the chest, the impossibility of going forward, the wish to make it all go away and live in the dreams of the past. If only it were enough, if only it meant I was feeling it for him.