I drove past your old house today. You probably try your best to forget Harford Road; I do. I try my best to convince myself that we had some level of heightened awareness. We were so out of place in that element. But sometimes at night, in places we don’t speak of in emails and phone calls, where only God sits with me, I cry. I cry, not because we were so out of place but because we were close. That house, so prosaic and unstable, that neighborhood, so drug ridden and cold, that lifestyle, so feared and loathed, provided us with an anonymity we shall never know again. It held us. We could be fabulous at Cignels and be honest about our fears on 20th Street.
I looked for your shadow today. You probably think that’s silly; I do. I try to think of our parting as the “stuff of life”; your need to find you, my need to find me. But sometimes when the world settles down and there are no more contracts to sign and no parent-teacher conferences to attend, I think. I think not of your place in the world but of how lonely life became when I could no longer tell you all of my secrets. The truth; my friendship with you was and remains the only sincere relationship I’ve ever had. You didn’t judge. I could be me and you could be you. So every now and then when I’m too tired to pretend, I look for you.
I said a prayer for you today. You probably don’t have to pray often; I do. I pray that the world is kinder to my children than it was to us. But lately I find myself praying about time. I hope in time, I will find the happiness that you’ve found. I hope there will come a time when our friendship is not separated by an ocean. But sometimes, when prayer doesn’t seem to help or God says “no,” I listen. I listen to the resonant silence that screams, “he’s happy.” It calms me to know that you’re ok. It feels good to get an email from you, knowing that you still get my humor about the world. So I laugh.
I drove past your house today. You probably think that’s peculiar. I try to avoid that path whenever I’m working. It always makes me sad to think of the condition of the city. Clifton Park sees its share of white middle-aged men playing soccer on the weekend, but you and I both know what goes on there during the week for real. But when I sit at the red light on the corner of Carswell Street and Harford Road, what I find peculiar is the realization that our place here has vanished. Your handsome face, carrying that Benetton knapsack can’t be found among the masses; you’ve gone. My naïve curiosity about drug addicts and why they don’t worry about what drugs are doing to their skin leaves no trace. I am gone. But what comforts me, when there is nothing else but me, this intersection, and God, is faith. I have faith that our existence here meant something to the both of us. I have the faith that knowing you at that time and in that place has made me strong. I have faith that your friendship did and does ground me, in a world that remains cynical. And so I’m happy.