“A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.”
To quote a personal hero: “I don’t understand people who have one drink. I don’t understand people who leave half a glass of wine on the table. I don’t understand people who say they’ve had enough. How can you have enough of feeling like this? How can you not want to feel like this longer? My brain works differently.”
My very best friend in the world is a man I greatly admire, that man was once a boy. But even then he was my greatest source of inspiration. That man is no longer with us because of one stupid mistake; one flaw in his being that ruined everything.
I was only twelve years old and jumping up and down on a big bed. As a terribly sleazy song came to a close the adults in the room started applauding. They all sat on little stools and desk chairs, laughing out loud as they clapped.
Next to me was my best friend. His hazel curls dancing around his face as he danced. That was the moment he taught me what it is like to be admired and I never forgot. We belted out the final words to the song as our parents clapped even louder. Afterwards we all went downstairs and received a small amount of champagne in an incredibly tall glass; as that is what superstars drink according to my friend’s parents.
My best friend tapped me on the shoulder and gestured to the kitchen. I followed him without a word or our parents noticing. The dark green bottle with the golden label stood on the counter just within our grasp. He put his glass to his lips and poured the remainder of the golden liquid down his throat. Then he nodded at me, as if he gave me permission to do the same. The bitter taste made my throat tingle and my eyes water.
There we sat, on a rusty park bench. His long curls cropped short, my short hair grown down to my shoulders. Our parents, as they were in that kitchen years ago, were absent. He seemed unable to look at me as I recounted our wild adventures. I spoke of his brilliant plans and my complete trust, my oblivion, his guilt and our absolute devotion.
This was going to be the day of days, his seventeenth birthday! We would go out and paint the town as it has never been painted before. There we were, a club full of dancing people. His laugh took my nerves away. He walked to the bar and ordered us some vodka and coke. After we devoured these, in record time, he almost sprinted back to the bar for more. Widely smiling he handed me another drink, “Refill,” he said with a wink.
The evening ended as those kinds of evenings should: Drunk, singing at the top of our lungs on one stolen bicycle.
There we sat again, together, on that same rusty park bench outside the centre. For the same stupid reason in the same hot sun; parents still absent. Only this time we sat in complete silence. He broke the silence without looking at me as he mumbled: “sorry.” Grinning slightly I looked at him and said: “Making amends, that’s one of the steps, right? A break-through!” He grinned despite of himself and said under his breath: “We should celebrate.” I raised my hand and pretended to call a waiter over as I yelled: “Champagne!”
And, as if we were twelve years old again, we laughed ourselves to tears.