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Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's August 15th

I used to wear a watch that showed the month and the day, but I don't anymore. I'm fickle that way. I've switched to a Bulova wristwatch from the 1940s, which I bought for myself as a present last year for starting a job that only lasted a month, and ended ingloriously. I still wear the Bulova, though.

It has a simple face, with no month or date, so, oftentimes, I don't know what date we're all on-- I'm often on a different one than you. Without that constant reminder, it's easy to lose track.

When I went to the pharmacy to pick up my asthma medication, I glanced down at the signature pad before signing my name and saw that it was August 15th today. I thought for a moment about what was significant about August 15th and nothing specific came to me, though I knew it was something. An hour or so later, I realized it was my best friend's birthday.

But we haven't spoken since May, so it doesn't really matter.

We had a falling out that is inevitable amongst certain types of male friends-- a fight about the other one's girlfriend. It wasn't what you're thinking-- that I wanted to sleep with her or something like that. I just confessed that I didn't trust her, and that, in my best friend's mind, concluded our friendship-- a friendship that began in 4th grade, petered out in high school, and then reignited in college when we discovered that we were living in the same dorm, and had carried on ever since. Until May.

I don't know if he's going to read this post or not, and it doesn't really matter anyway. I wish I could call my friend and wish him a happy birthday, but we all know I'm not going to do that. I want to wish things could go back to the way they were before, but I don't really know which "before" I'd be wishing for, so I just won't. Wishing doesn't get you much these days anyway, I find.

Life without a best friend is strange once you've had one for many years, but you adapt. There is, of course, no replacement for a best friend, just like there is no cure for a broken heart, but the days and nights keep rolling along and we do our little thing in spite of our loss. There isn't really a day that goes by where I don't think about him, at least once. At least fleetingly. In truth, it scares me, though, how ambivalent I've grown about the loss, and it scares me too to think about how ambivalent he has most likely grown as well, as he has adapted and moved on, too.

Thinking back on it, our friendship was probably more volatile and more succeptible to collapse than I realized. We had huge fights and falling outs in the past, and we are both extraordinarily truculent and hot-headed, making apologies hard to come by.

I don't know who was right and who was wrong in our final argument, and I don't care either. Somebody speculated recently that, when his relationship ends he will come back to me, but I don't necessarily want either of those events to occur. I want him to be happy, with or without her, and with or without me.

They say you need friends to survive in this world, but I don't really know if that's true. Maybe they're just nice to have, like leather seats in your car. Part of me can't believe I'm saying that after burying my oldest friend's brother on Thursday, and part of me can. Maybe it's just the depression talking. But, if I were more upbeat, it would probably just be the Xanax talking, and I only treat my asthma.

When this falling out first happened, I thought it was a great tragedy to lose your best friend, but I've come to realize that, while it's still a tragedy, it's not so great. It's just one of those things. What we're so afraid of losing sometimes, I feel, is the history, and all the history is still there, it's just that looking at memories is a little more abstract now. Remembering my past used to be like looking at a Wyeth painting, now it's kind of like looking at a Picasso-- it's still beautiful, but it's also a little fucked up. You have to struggle to look through the weird colors and shapes. It's not so pleasant or so easy to sit back and remember anymore.

Soon it won't be August 15th anymore, and that will be okay with me.


  1. May was a bad time for best friend relationships it seems. Not really the profound comment I was hoping to make, but then, I'm not very good at profount comments.

  2. "Maybe they're just nice to have, like leather seats in your car." -- nice!

    I have 3 or 4 'friends'. I probably have a lot more than consider me a friend, but those that I actually consider close, those that actually know almost everything there is to know about me -- there are very few.

    I've seen my 'best friend' twice since university ended, 4 years ago. I wonder if he considers me his best friend... hm...

    But yeah, I live without friends. It's OK. Gets lonely sometimes :)

  3. Picasso huh? I love that.
    A very timely post Mr. Apron.
    I'm not sure it solves anything, but it's nice to know I'm not the only one hurting over a lost friend.


  4. ugh losing a best friend makes me absolutely sick. i've lost two before. i've reunited with one and was told to fuck off when i tried to reunite with the other. i wish i had your maturity to move on.


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