I don’t really want to say this, but last week was… good. I wished that I wrote about it then, because things have been sliding away from good, and its hard to recapture the good in a way that is genuine.
But fuck that. Last week was good. For a few reasons.
I know I’ve already dark washed the trip I took to the Eagle’s Nest. But I don’t know where I would be now if I hadn’t went.
I didn’t work as much that week. Always a bonus.
I allowed myself way too much caffeine. Paying for that now.
And a friend of mine was in town. John.
I have been chasing my tail on what I want to say about him.
Our friendship is important to me. Maybe because he had enough distance for me not to try and push it away. Maybe because he met me where I was with everything, and didn’t try to back away. Maybe because of the trip he just finished with- a trip that was really important to him, and I happened to be a person he wanted to see. It put my worthlessness, my feelings of an empty life in check for awhile. Or maybe because, in spite of the distance, we surprise each other with the amount we have in common, and… whatever.
The truth is, the friendship just works. And I don’t know how the hell to say it better than that. If I wanted to, I could look into it, and analyze it, and make things sound more or less important than they are.
So I kept on trying to do the opposite.
I started treating it like it was fragile- like coming upon a rare animal, and being afraid to breathe too deeply, a moment of weightlessness with the wonder of it all, and the fear that it’ll soon just drift away again.
Of course, with John, the animal would turn, look me up and down, and say “What’s your freaking problem?”
I waited for his bus to drop him off at the stop past the Hawthorne bridge in the morning, beating back thoughts about what my expectations or his expectations were.
Of course, he was fine with anything. I wasn’t. I hadn’t went so far as trying to be a better, more heightened me… well… other than the soda I drank, because I wanted to be up and talking, and not asleep. I just wanted some place comfortable, some place conducive to talking. And downtown Portland still mystifies me for just finding a good hang out spot. Of course, I felt like this made me seem unprepared. Which I was. I didn’t want to overthink it, but, hell, that was going to happen either way.
I knew of a decent coffeehouse in Old Town, which is no longer there, then Stumptown, but neither of us drank coffee, then Starbucks, which was stools at a communal trough table and uncomfortable. Then a...hmmm… a bagel place. The most interesting thing about this place was reliving a CSI episode by taking an elevator down to the parking garage, then finding the bathroom. I ordered a soda. He ordered a tea. We were there for hours. And no one kicked us out.
In writing, in music, in acting, in painting, there is sort of zen-like time that takes over, and once you come to, you aren’t exactly sure where the time went, but all you know is that you feel good about whatever happened.
That’s what I felt like talking with him. Of course, things come back to me about the conversation, and the goodbye was brief when meds decided to interfere, but it was good. Just… good. And that is one big fucking mountain moved for me. It was time I gave myself space- when everything that is usually pushing at me just stopped, and I could talk. And listen.
I also caught up with him at the airport, to see him off. I like airports… especially when either going somewhere myself, or when other people are going somewhere. Its one of those completely transitory spaces- a place where just about everyone is in a moment of coming from and/or going to someplace else.
Of course I was all self-judgemental about it… like it was a weird thing to request. But he was grateful, and said so. A huge relief, because I always feel like I’m pushing myself on other people.
John is a good friend. He was also in the right place at the right time, which, as I’ve heard, has been happening to him quite often.
The hardest thing for me to do, the hardest part of the cancer is trust. I don’t trust anything- medical professionals, money, work, the future, affirmation, compliment, the plans I had, hoping or believing in anything, myself, my health.
John is a person I trust. I trust him to give me an honest reaction, and honest opinion, and would tell me what he thinks. I trust he gives a damn. And if I can trust him, maybe I can eventually trust other things, other people. Hell, maybe even myself.
Doesn’t matter how much credit we take in our relationships, it seems we are at best the first domino to fall over and start some sort of chain reaction. We can’t control the course of it, we can’t stop it, we can’t even know if the result will be positive or negative. But just by being who we are, if we have the courage to be who we are, we affect change in those around us.
Just being able to meet and talk and make real a friendship I’ve had with John for years, and just by him being who he is, I had a good week last week. And the domino fell. Who knows where the hell it will lead.