i was reminded this weekend that i have five people who are unquestioningly loyal to me. the person who reminded me also has five people, and except for each other, our five do not overlap. if i were in crisis, that number five would likely multiply, and i think i can predict the additional ten who would be next to me. i am blessed by people who truly love me and although i never forget it, i could remember it better.
my pixie sister moved from austin to seattle two years ago. she purposely hasn’t made new friends. she says she already has the best friends in the world (which is not an exaggeration on her part, they are GREAT) and doesn’t want new ones. i understand her stance. making new friends, true friends, the ones who will keep your secrets, shave her head with you before chemo, stand-in for you at family funerals when you can’t fly home, accompany you to your mother’s house so that you don’t have to be alone with her, call you on your self-denying rationalizing bullshit, each year celebrate an extra fabulous birthday three weeks after the actual birthday because the actual one is bound to be disappointing…those friends are harder to find once you’ve entered your third decade and realize that you prefer your own company over others. that said, i make new friends every year. but i also know a new friend won’t be the one holding my hand and booking us tickets to tokyo the day i learn that my father has died. new friends are unlikely to ever know why my father and i can’t healthfully relate and why it will be easier once he is gone, because those stories are too old, too private, and too painful to share with a new friend. most of the friends that know didn’t have to be told the stories, because they knew him.
i sit here on monday morning and consider that i could open my heart wider, appreciate juicier the people who have chosen to love me without pause, and allow for the possibility that the list of loyal lovies will grow, that i’ll see the faces of some new friends (including new friends i haven’t yet met) surprising me with a party three weeks after my actual ninety-first birthday.