I recently had dinner with a friend from elementary school.
We met in elementary school and attended middle school and high school together. We were prom dates at one point too. The presence of this friend in my life is really unnatural. Inconsistent. Unconventional. When we think of our good friends, we usually think of someone who is constantly there when need-be, someone we can always rely on, the person we'd go to first or second for exciting news or problems. Our relationship isn't like that. In fact, our friendship is marked by sparse visits here and there, at home or whenever we both don't have school.
His presence in my life reminds me of the Morse code for the number 9 where the bars indicate absence and the dots represent the times we see each other. Throw in some 1's, J's, and K's, and you'll have a pretty accurate depiction of what our friendship resembles. However, every encounter we've had has been easily worthwhile. That's probably because when we do finally see each other it's after prolonged efforts of trying to solidify plans, or because we talk about real content, or it's a sensitive or crucial time in the other's life.
We'd only talk here and there even in high school, too. We had this "rap battle" together once too, that was kind of funny. In college, we talked even less. But three times we've made efforts to see each other. Me driving up to UMass Amherst or him scooping me from my house. Reciprocated efforts.
Yesterday we tried hot pot at Shabu Zen for the first time. We talked about relationships, our futures, and funny random things. Then I met some of his close friends and we went to a bar and I had an awesome time. The whole time, I was thinking in the back of the my head how cool it was that I could still sit face-to-face with him and not feel any tension or weirdness, like we'd seen each other last week. I realized that as much as he isn't in my life, his place in it is just as important, and I don't want to lose that even for just three more visits, ever. It also goes to show you the power of encounters in life. For anyone whose read The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, you'll understand what I mean.
Those are the kinds of people I want to meet and keep in my life - people who I can have substantial conversations with who will make the time of the day to talk to me. And enjoy it. And feel comfortable confiding in me and vice versa. Sometimes we'll have to go a little out of our way to see each other and sometimes we won't. But at the end of the day, what matters is that we talked and that time put into talking to each other and just sitting around is an indication of wanting to keep a friendship alive.
I dread talking to people who don't bother to continue a conversation. From now on, I won't bother anymore. Why give you the time of day if you won't meet me halfway. I'd rather waste my energy on other things.
Thanks for picking me up.