Look at this picture of these two old men sitting on a park bench. You can just tell that they've been friends for a long time. I think there is something about their relaxed manner that says "this guy knows everything there is to know about me." They are just kicking back talking about the good old days when gas was cheap and you could get to know someone by spending time with them and not studying their Facebook profile. They probably have some wild stories. I bet half of their stories involve one or both doing something either illegal, immoral, dangerous or just plain stupid. I bet one of them can say "Remember that time on the lake…" and he doesn't even have to finish because the other guy knows exactly how the rest of the story goes and they'll both burst in to laughter at the memory of whatever happened that day on the lake. I bet they have secrets no one else knows that they will carry to the grave for each other. I bet they've had other friends, loved ones and even a woman or two come and go in and out of their life but this friendship just might be the most enduring relationship of their lifetime. At least I like to think they are life long friends because I'm fairly convinced that once upon a time these two old guys might have been something like these two young guys. I really truly hope so.
This is my son Alex and his best friend Andrew. Andrew and his family moved in three houses up from us when Alex was five years old and Andrew was four. Funny what a small world it is because it was a few months after they moved in that Andrew's mother and I realized we had gone to high school together. We hadn't seen each other since graduation.
It would be untrue to say that our sons have been inseparable since first meeting. The first few years of their friendship were rocky. They would alternate between being best friends and not wanting to play together. If there was another child in the mix it never failed that a two against one scenario would develop. But somewhere around middle school things changed and they stopped the on again off again aspect of their friendship. By high school their friendship was forged in blood. Literally as they did several quite stupid things together that led to one or the other or both of them bleeding and injured. Like the time they decided to climb the big cherry tree in my front yard. Alex ran in to the house to get something and Andrew decided to go ahead and start climbing. Poor kid stepped on a branch that wasn't strong enough to support him and he fell to the ground. As he lie there bleeding profusely from the nose and assessing his other injuries, Alex came out of the house, surmised what had happened and started yelling at him "Why didn't you wait for me you big dummy?" "If you had waited for me this wouldn't have happened." "I know the good branches to step on."
Other friendships, having girlfriends and even distance hasn't put a damper on their relationship. Alex's girlfriend jokes all the time that he loves Andrew more than her, as she said "When Andrew was out of town for two weeks Alex talked to him every day for an hour. He doesn't talk to me for an hour every day and we live together." I told her to get used to it because I don't see it changing any time soon.
To be honest, I hope it never does change. Not many people can say they have been best friends since childhood. It's a rare and special thing. I know eventually these two Peter Pan's will have to grow up and their lives will be almost unrecognizable from what they are now but I hope this one part of their childhood will remain the same. I hope their relationship endures. Life is so freaking tough. We all need a friend who knows where we come from and where we always wanted to go. A friend who can give us a shove in the right direction when we get off track. A friend who can and will say anything to you…even the stuff that's hard to hear. A friend who will laugh with you as much as they laugh at you. Everyone needs a friend who no matter what has got your back. A friend who will help you know where to place your foot, where to step so that you don't end up broken and bloody on the ground.
How very lucky they are to have each other, and if either one of them ever needs to move a body, no questions asked, they know exactly who to call!