I don’t have many friends. I never have. The ones I do have are few and far between, and inevitably, they last for a handful of years at most.
Sometimes I think about how my life must look to others. Transient? Nomadic? Flitting from cause to cause, friend to friend as if the very thought of permanence is damning.
An old friend – an old best friend – once told me that I was unknowable. Unknowable, he said – screamed – in my face. I never really thought about how I must come across to those who know me. Those who enter into any sort of relationship with me do so with the knowledge that reciprocity is not in my nature, and that whatever profound sharing of thoughts and minds occurs – it will be temporary. Invariably one day, I’ll leave and I won’t come back. I’ll move on. Because that’s just what I do. I imagine that few individuals would be willing to enter into a friendship with someone who has already seen its end from afar.
I suppose I can understand why many are reluctant to embark upon something so transient. Short-lived. Unknowable. How difficult it must be for an individual to share affection with someone who shares so little of themselves. Those I leave behind think me cruel. That once I have moved on, I no longer care. That I am utterly dispassionate toward the trail of grief I leave behind.
Aaron died yesterday. Accidental overdose. I always told that fucking kid to quit mixing his highs. Never did listen to me.
He is – was – a few years older than me, but that doesn’t stop me calling him kid. The way he looks – looked – at the world was really a league of its own. Naive. Fascinated. Every breath he took was a wonder. Granted, he was the only person who thought so – his mother was kind of a bitch. We used to run together, and not in that 6 am-Kelloggs-healthy living way, either.
I don’t know exactly what it was that we had, but it was good. This rather fucked up mélange of anger and alienation and desperation, expressed platonically like friendship was the only way out. It’s funny, because for most people friendship is the goal, not the means. I think we were just both pissed off kids looking for some artefact of society to rip apart.
I was a fucked up kid, and this fact will never change. What’s even more fucked up is how utterly un-fucked up the world thought I was. This was perhaps more damaging than any successful charge of juvenile arson or vandalism or animal cruelty could ever be. There’s only one thing worse than an angry, destructive kid – an angry, destructive kid who got straight A’s and was teacher’s pet all the way through junior high. One is easy to fix, another utterly impossible. I’ll let you figure that one out.
If I ever had to pick a past friendship that I will likely always remember, it would be Aaron. He was the only friend I’ve ever had who understood what it is to struggle. To genuinely struggle. To struggle against one’s own nature. The two of us got up to some awful shit, but it was always honest. We never felt to the need to hide anything from each other. We never felt the need to conjure justifications for our actions whose sincerity was intended only for the recipient – never felt the need to justify ourselves for unjustifiable acts. We were both fucked up, but we were honest about it. For perhaps the only few short years in my life, I felt vindicated.
I think that this sensation in the pit of my stomach is grief. Granted, I would hesitate to label Aaron anything even remotely resembling conventional friendship. Regardless, I think that what we had was the closest degree of genuine affection either of us were capable of.
In the end, maybe that’s all that matters.