In last night's dream, the friend came over and we watched TV. At one point, when we were getting hungry, he enthusiastically volunteered to go pick something up. We agreed on a place, sent in our order, and he bounced off the couch and left, soon to return with a bag of our food. We snacked on the couch, watching various things on Netflix and what not, late into the evening.
At times, I worried that he was staying too long, that his family would be expecting him. This concern rose to a verbal question, and he was quick to dismiss it. "Don't worry," he said, "I've told them I'll be with you today." The business world likes to say that time is a precious resource, but that is an applicable statement to every facet of our lives, perhaps most importantly to our personal lives. I was touched that he was spending his time that day focusing on our friendship. Of course, the time came to an end and, around midnight, he went home.
I was thinking about that dream much of today. It took place in mine and Ashley's old house on Edwin St., though the arrangement of furniture was somewhat different. Ashley was away visiting his mother (an inclusion of recent events making its way into the haze), and so the friend had decided to spend the day hanging out together so I wouldn't be lonely. The thoughtfulness was appreciated and, unfortunately, somewhat rare.
Years ago, when I was working retail, a friend/co-worker came over one evening to watch a movie (Three Kings, starring George Clooney). The memory of that night may have subconsciously spurred last night's dream, as much of it was similar, though not identical. The friend then did not have a family, but did have a girlfriend. He had a cell phone, and was often on it. "I want you to know," he said as walked in the door, "that I've turned-off my cell phone. Nothing's going to disturb us tonight." And nothing did. It's a nice memory I still have, of being made to feel important, the center of someone's attention. It's a selfish notion, to be sure, but then it would be folly to pretend as though we're not sometimes selfish creatures.
Friendships have always been a difficult path for yours truly. As a kid in elementary school, I remember being at a birthday party for the one person who could have been called a friend back then. It was in the party room at the back of the McDonald's on N. Mattis Ave., and there were lots of other kids present. I remember thinking how it would be nice to have my own birthday party there. Then, in my head, the logistical reality soon came into focus that I didn't have enough people that counted as friends to come anywhere near the number that was in attendance that day.
During middle school I had one good, close friend. We would ride our bikes everywhere together, play lots of outdoor games, watch stuff on HBO that we probably shouldn't watch, play video games, and draw our own comic books. When high school came along, I wasn't popular enough to still be his friend, and that was that. So it goes.
High school was a pretty barren landscape when it came to having actual friends. There was one, for a few months. I've written about him in these pages before. He was the first person I felt a romantic love for. That is sometimes all it takes to end a friendship, and it ended ours. Late teens/early twenties brought some more frequent friendships, some from college, others from late night clubbing and food runs. Some of those friendships are still going strong to this day.
It's been a difficult time of late. Mentally, emotionally, it's all been somewhat fragile. Perhaps that is why I have been acutely aware of friendships. A friend told me they thought I had a very charmed life. I do, in many ways. But those sorts of remarks always seem to miss the point of depression. There are funeral homes and crematoriums filled with people who led comparatively charmed lives, but, for one or many reasons, they took their own lives. Please don't take from that any hint of suicide from me. Simply that, for many with seemingly nice lives, there's a part of the equation that isn't always known.
I've been thinking over my life lately, of all the times I've let people down, or didn't spend money well and fell behind on bills, or was rude to someone, or dismissed people because there was nothing about them that interested me. Then there's the opposite: I ruined friendships because they interested me too much. There are people out there who think little more of me than they would a cockroach on the pavement. Perhaps deservedly so? I've not been a perfect person. Maybe this is why friendships have seemed difficult to come by, or to maintain?
Maybe I just think about things too much, and am too open about it? Maybe it's a lot of things. As always, I'll have to plod along, doing my best to improve and become a better person. We should all endeavor to do so, while there's breath in our bodies.