I’m older now. Middle-aged old. Things are different now.
Matt, Mathew, Daniel and I are still friends. Brian passed away a couple of years ago.
I don’t like this expression ‘passing away.’
He died. Now he’s dead. That’s it. No more spit puddles. Cancer.
I think he had been drinking too much for too long. But maybe he wasn’t. Maybe it was just last year that he died. I can’t quite remember. I live in a different country now. That’s my excuse for not knowing.
For the last two decades we only spoke once every year when I went back for our annual barbecue. We weren’t really friends anymore. We used to know everything about each other. Now we just know what we once knew. We laugh about the same jokes. They’re still funny. To us they are. Funny enough. We’re pals now, not friends. Matt, Mathew, Daniel and I are. Brian is fucking dead.
I do miss him sometimes.
That’s how it goes.
Our friendship has become the bottom feeder of my relationship pyramid. All my friendships have. My wife and my children are on top. Responsibilities are too. And if you aren’t me, your parents are probably there too. They all come first. I have them. Friendships are at the bottom. They come last. I choose them.
That’s how it is.
I never used to think about friendship. Never had to. It used to be something that didn’t require any thinking. It just was. It was like my personal emotions convenience store. The shelves were filled with my favourite candy bars, sodas and affection. Smokes and booze and camaraderie. Snacks and trust. Everything for free. Always open.
Friendships are a victim of circumstance. I love saying intellectual shit like that. Especially when I’m with Adam.
What that means? It means you have to work, and you have to take care of your children, your parents, whatever. Stuff like that.
But friends, you choose. You decide to do things for them. Or with them. Or not. You don’t have to. You can just put them off. As one does. So you do.
So I did.
That’s how it goes.
Friendship used to be this one thing. Many things, all in one, combined in one person.
Then it happened. It happened slowly. Steadily. Stealthy. Sneaky.
This is what happened: I grew. I grew older. I grew up. I lived, I worked, I met, I loved, I left, I came, I went, I tried, I failed, I won, I sucked, I thrived, I lost, I did, I didn’t, I am, I am not. I am not the same person anymore. They are not the same person anymore. No one is.
Now friendship is many things. All separate. Broken up into tiny shards of emotional equilibrium. Scattered among buddies, pals, and mates.
I used to just have friends. Now I have niche-friends.