I have no idea how friendships are made or why some relationships last a lifetime. People come and go and make promises about how they will always stay close… but they don’t… life happens, and people change. Sad isn’t it?
If you’re lucky enough to find someone that accepts your bumps and bruises and imperfections… you have found a true friend! I want to tell you about mine… her name is Anita.
Once upon a time in a life long ago, I met Anita… a person who stood next to me as I destroyed everything I’d built over the last 20 years. This is how the story goes…
At the time, my marriage was ending… friends had chosen sides, and the divorce battles were about to begin… it was also a time when I couldn’t draw a sober breath… I was in and out of hospitals with near fatal overdoses… I looked like what I was… a drunken addict two feet from the big crash… and believe me it came!
During those days, I rarely left my oceanfront condo except to buy alcohol or pick up prescriptions… My world revolved around a cyber-life I’d created and even that was crashing… I’m the only person alive sued for slander on Facebook, fined $10,000.00 and forced to pick up dog poop for 200 hours as “community service”… what a shitty job that was! My life had finally hit rock bottom… and there I sat!
Realizing everything that defined my “worth” was crumbling… I contacted a Realtor to list my home in town. We agreed to meet at a restaurant for lunch and discuss the property. During that initial conversation, I noticed the woman was direct to the point of being rude… she had no time for chit chat… I like that in people.
I chose a restaurant at the beach with outdoor tables, so I could wear sunglasses and sat so the ocean wind would blow the smell of alcohol away from her. I’d become an expert at hiding my life.. that day would be no different. I was drunk … not stupid!
Anita pulled up in one of those huge four door trucks you only see in the south.. the tailgate was covered in bumper stickers supporting George Bush, Mitt Romney and pro-gun slogans… we had nothing in common. I remember she was carrying a gigantic bag/briefcase /purse that she dropped onto the table and didn’t waste a lot of time with meaningless conversation.. she was there for a reason… and it wasn’t to get to know me.
At the table, I recommended a salad on the menu, and she responded, “Yeah, that’s real nice, but I’m a meat and potatoes kinda girl”… so, I got the salad, and she got pot roast… this was not the kind of woman you messed with… everything about her demanded attention, and she got it. This was a strong woman… there is nothing I respect more than a strong woman in control of a situation. I was afraid of her … but I liked her!
Anita is no delicate wall flower… she is a retired cop and has seen the seedier sides of life. As she told me about her former career in law enforcement, I was instantly drawn to her. She was a survivor… I could look into her eyes and see much more than her tough words revealed. Maybe wounded people find each other for a reason.
Over the next two years, Anita stood by me… when I had no food in my refrigerator… Anita was there. When I’d attempt sobriety… Anita was there… When I left Shmuli for Betty Ford …Anita was there. When I decided to stay in Southern California and rebuild my life… Anita was there. With every step of my journey to a new life… Anita has been there right beside me.
Life is not meant to be lived alone. We are very social beings and we need people to care about us, understand us, share the same mentality as us, and accept us for who were are and who we are not.
The word “friendship” is very special, and I think people throw it around to include people they know and do stuff with. A good friend, however, is someone we can rely on, someone who is faithful and who is not trying to change us, dictate to us and manipulate us. If you have a good friend, you know they know your warts, and you know theirs, but in the greater scheme, it doesn’t matter, because the essence of that person’s character is beautiful and that’s what counts.
Finding someone who will watch your back and stand up for you, and who is loyal is one of the hardest things in the universe. There is no real friendship if there is no loyalty. You know you have a true friend when the “stuff” hits the fan, and they are still standing by you.
In life, if you’re lucky…you’ll find a friend …if you’re blessed … you’ll find a true friend.
A friend will tell you what you want to hear.
A true friend will always tell the truth.
A friend seeks to talk with you about your problems.
A true friend seeks to help you with your problems.
A friend will be there for you all through school.
A true friend will be there till the day you die.
A friend will bail you out of prison.
A true friend will be sitting next to you saying
“Damn that was fun!”.
A friend hates it when you call after they’ve gone to bed.
A true friend asks you why you took so long to call.
A friend wonders about your romantic history.
A true friend could blackmail you with it.
A friend thinks the friendship is over when you have an argument.
A true friend calls you after you had a fight.
A friend, when visiting, acts like a guest.
A true friend opens your refrigerator and helps himself.
A friend has never seen you cry.
A true friend has shoulders soggy from your tears.
A friend doesn’t know your parents’ first names.
A true friend has their phone numbers in his address book.
A friend expects you to always be there for them.
A true friend expects to always be there for you.
If I live to be 100 or live 100 lifetimes… I will never find a friend as true as Anita…