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A note on friends and friendship: I come in contact with a lot of bodies and handshakes and smiles and laughter and friendly moments, but a friend is something different. Making a friend... Is it making or allowing, I don't know. There's been a lot of different ways that it started and some of them seem pretty vague; sometimes it's been a smile that I didn't expect and didn't know I needed, sometimes it's been a slow build, sometimes a chase, but there's usually a moment where comes into focus; a pat on the back, an invitation, a secret; and then there it is, I have a friend. I can kinda feel that moment on my face, it's like I'm trying to hold my mouth in place. Like a smile, but I don't wanna react too much; I don't wanna ruin it. And a flush, maybe of fear. I can be pretty awkward sometimes, especially if I give a shit. I don't know why, exactly, but talking about this makes me sad. Maybe it's because when I look harder at something so essential I get scared by how much I've overlooked or neglected it. There's some things that I care about much less but I pay a lot more attention to, and it's a reminder to change that. So thank you. Thank you for thinking of me, for reserving part of your mind for things like my birthday or the books that I like to read. Thank you for not hurting me, despite being in a position to hurt me much more than most people could. Thank you for inviting me to things and including me on email lists with your other friends, some of which I do get jealous of from time to time. You'll forgive me for that, I hope. I just wonder where I stand in relation to them sometimes, and in some moments I've even thought of myself as above you, or beneath you, and I apologize for both. Maybe the greatest gift you give me is allowing me to stop struggling to find my place. We're friends; that is the place. It's an extension of what I call home. As we've gotten older, your face still looks the same to me. After not seeing you for a while I might notice some small change in your hair, or a new mole, but to me your face isn't in those details. It's in the movement, the pacing. And that's sort of what defines us as friends, too, not our bodies, not the jobs we have, but the movement. The way we follow and hopscotch each other's ideas, the way you wait for me to catch up with a thought, the occasional apology; I can be a dick sometimes, I know that. That rhythm of separation and closeness, the reminders that you aren't me, which is good, because I'm not such a good friend to me. And that overlapping phone call that relieves the shared tension of too much time gone by. It ebbs and flows, though, I know that. There might be times where we become parodies of our past selves, just skimming on the surface with snippets of old conversations, pretending that the disconnect is the same thing as the comfortable but active silence that sometimes we've enjoyed. And if it goes on too long, one of us is gonna have to have the courage to speak up, and the other one's gonna have to have the courage to respond. I've watched some of my friendships fade out of the corner of my eye, and I don't want that to happen with you. It's a kind of love, by the way. It's awkward to say that, but it is. Not as binding in the day-to-day as love for lovers, but it has the same responsibilities, and I need to remind myself of that from time to time, so thank you for being my friend. Bye bye bye, it's the bye-bye song.
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