The Night We Became Friends

Yeah, we’re coworkers, but most importantly, he is the person I tell everything to, especially the things I don’t want to tell anyone.

One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood. 

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

I recommend against sleeping with your best friend. I’d had a friend a long time ago who seemed like the only one who could understand certain things about me. We were briefly a couple, but we were better at being friends. He’s not the sort to be single much, and I really needed to be single while I sorted my head out after my marriage ended. Thus our romantic relationship ended up being a relatively brief part of a long friendship.

I was supposed to be his best man if he ever remarried, and I was nearly as excited as he was when he got engaged. I didn’t know the bride well, but we ran in the same social circles, and she’s amazing. I was low-key excited about having the opportunity to become her friend through their marriage. The admiration is not mutual. I was not the best man. I was not even invited to the wedding, on account of the whole having been in a romantic relationship with the groom thing. It’s more normal to be like her than to be like me. I respect that.

As the best man, it would have been my job to stand up for this couple. I don’t know why I always picture swords, but I totally picture swords when I think of being the best man as a solemn oath to defend the marriage and its participants. Maybe this is why no one ever lets me be their best man; I can’t tell a wedding party from the three musketeers. I still think I would totally rock a tux. Even though I didn’t officially get the job, I still think it’s my responsibility as his friend to do what’s best for his marriage. Friends should support each other’s relationships and, in this case, the best way to do that was to minimize my place in the groom’s life. 

The day of their wedding was incredibly lonely for me. The people I would generally lean on during a bad day were either getting married or invited to the wedding. I arranged to stay at work for the weekend, so I wouldn’t wallow. My work has student/instructor housing that was available at the time. Also, the Work Bestie had just been kicked out by his girlfriend in a fairly dramatic breakup and was staying at work that weekend, too. I made hot buttered rum that night, and we hung out while I got very, very, very drunk. 

He wasn’t really the Work Bestie yet. I mean, he was entirely himself, but we weren’t particularly close. I hardly knew him. We met on my second day there. He was breathtakingly beautiful, but that’s not what I’m into. I don’t have any use for a pretty picture to hang on my wall. Give me a mind that makes me want to wrap my legs around it. That’ll be my downfall every time. 

I respected him as a colleague and was definitely learning a lot from him, but we were coworkers, not friends. Well, then the rum happened. I could not shut up. I told him everything. My deepest darkest secrets came running from my mouth like puppies eager to jump into his lap. He greeted them with warmth and kindness. Eventually, I managed to sedate myself into something close to silence. He made sure I got tucked in safely and then excused himself politely.

I was mortified; my every shameful confession given to some guy I hardly knew was bad enough, but to tell that stuff to a coworker? Ugh. It had been a nice job while it lasted, I guess. I waited for him to be weird to me. I waited for him to tell my secrets to our other coworkers. It didn’t happen. He knew me, and he didn’t run away or betray me or anything, and it just so happened that a bestie position was being vacated in my life right then. So that is how he became my Work Bestie. 

Months, maybe years later, I realized that it’s not so much that he is nonjudgmental as it is that he has no short-term memory. I can tell him anything I want to today because he’ll forget it by tomorrow. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, and since, eventually, things transfer over to his perfectly functional long-term memory, I still depend on his discretion. More than that, I depend on his friendship. Yeah, we’re coworkers, but most importantly, he is the person I tell everything to, especially the things I don’t want to tell anyone. I set out to be best friends forever. 

And I don’t want the world to see me
‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

Goo Goo Dolls
Goo Goo Dolls – Iris (Official Music Video)


So I returned to the dreams I’d had before I started dreaming of being kissed passionately. If I couldn’t have love, I would have the world.

Seek not water; seek thirst


When I was a little girl, I tried to learn American Sign Language. I loved putting my face and sometimes my entire body into a word. More than that, I believed that if I became fluent in sign language, I could travel the whole world, going from one deaf community to another. Then when I was about ten years old, I learned that signed languages are as diverse and varied as spoken languages. Just like that, my globe-trotting plan was gone. A decade later, I was settling down but hadn’t given up on seeing the world. I just wanted someone to see the world with. Adventures are more fun with an accomplice. My marriage didn’t work out that way, or any other way. 

It’s probably the most universal human desire to love and be loved. I think it’s something we want as newborns and still on our deathbeds, this thread weaving through our lives as other desires bloom and die and disappear. I wanted to love, be loved, and devote myself to a lasting partnership. But if that’s not an option, then there has to be something else to look forward to. I am addicted to silver linings. There always has to be something exciting enough to make getting out of bed tomorrow feel worth it. 

So I returned to the dreams I’d had before I started dreaming of being kissed passionately. If I couldn’t have love, I would have the world. I pinned all my hopes on traveling. As soon as my youngest child turned eighteen, I would go to ALL the places! Of course, the part where that happened in 2020 didn’t help, but that wasn’t the only change of plans. This isn’t the same economy I came of age in. My kids need more support as young adults, and I’m less adept at providing it. I’m a broke, divorced, middle-aged undergraduate with family responsibilities. It’s not exactly a great recipe for jet setting. 

Still, I’ve researched a dozen different routes to walk El Camino de Santiago and a handful for the Pacific Crest Trail. I’ve fantasized about getting an RV, a dog, and an as-of-yet elusive comfort behind the wheel. Or riding all the best trains without a dog. I could take the Southwest Chief from L.A. to Chicago and the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul. I could even go on a nine-month cruise  around the world. I’ve daydreamed about crashing on couches in every city where I have a friend or an acquaintance or the ability to convince myself that kind strangers probably won’t murder me. I want to volunteer anywhere where volunteers aren’t a problem unto themselves. 

It is my nature to be curious about everyone and everything. Adventure is just another word for finding out. To love and be loved would be the sweetest adventure, but to travel could be pretty exciting, too. Maybe I’ll do both or nearly neither. Whatever happens, I’ll live; perhaps that could be adventure enough.

Nothing much to say, I guess
just the same as all the rest
Been tryin’ to throw your arms ‘round the world
And a woman needs a man
like a fish needs a bicycle
when you’re tryin’ to throw your arms around the world

Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World
U2 Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around The World