The storm beneath the quietPosted: December 11, 2011
“Thanks for comin’ out here.”
It was cold. A cloud of visible breath rose from his mouth into the starless night.
“I just wanted to say a few things, you know, about us.” There was something in his voice when he said ‘us.’ Something like uncertainty.
“Sure man, anything,” his friend replied, not showing any signs of uncertainty. His friend wasn’t just a friend though. He was a best friend.
“Okay, so, uh…” he trailed off, suddenly forgetting everything.
“Take your time buddy,” his best friend said, ever patient.
“Of all the friends I’ve had, none have ever given me such a profound sense of respect.” His best friend shrugged it off, “Of course, that’s what friends are for.”
“But…” He trailed off again. His best friend just looked at him this time.
“Remember when I’d spend the night here, way back when?” he said suddenly. They were standing outside his best friend’s house at the time. A gust of wind started up. The surrounding trees made whispers in the dark. He crossed his arms and shivered.
“Yeah, we’d stay up all night playing video games,” his best friend recalled, smiling.
“And I would always get too loud and excited about whatever we were playing, and I’d always wake up your mom, who would complain about my wall-penetrating voice,” he laughed, “and I would forget that whenever I lost a life or a race or whatever it was. Your poor mom hardly got any sleep whenever I was there. Or, here, I mean.” He looked at the ground and kicked his right toe into the moist grass beneath his feet. It didn’t really help him think. He didn’t know why he did that sometimes.
“Is this all you wanted to say?” his best friend asked.
“No, I…well whenever we were done playing games you would get in your bed and I’d lay on your couch and we would turn out the lights, leaving a crack in the door and the hall light on so it wouldn’t be too dark. But we wouldn’t sleep. We would talk to each other about everything we were thinking about or going through, be it religion or girls or school, as I stared at the ceiling. I can hardly think of other times in my life where someone would just listen to me so…honestly and completely, you know? And I would listen to you too. The conversations we’d have were so simple and true and we didn’t really care about all those little implications and junk that people worry about all the time in the real world when they talk to another person, see? I guess what I wanted to say was that I really miss that. Of all the things I miss about home these days, that’s one of the things I miss the most.” He looked his best friend in the face, smiling in a somewhat sad way.
“I guess I miss that too…” His best friend looked down at his feet.
“So, with that in mind, I wanted you to know that I’ll always love you as the best friend that you are to me. No matter where we go or where we end up, or whatever choices we make, I’ll love you and respect you. And if you ever want to talk to someone who will listen to you, who will talk with you like we used to, I’m just a phone call away. Always, as long as I’m not dead,” he exhaled, feeling relieved.
“Right. You know you can always call me too, bro,” his best friend grinned. “Now you know it’s freezing out here. Wanna get inside?”
“Yeah, just one more thing. Do you really consider me to be your best friend?” he muttered quickly. He was somehow anxious.
His best friend’s eyebrow shot up in a look of confusion. “Of course not.”
There was a moment of silence and stares. The eyebrow stayed up.
“I kid, I kid. Of course I do, I always will.” His best friend replaced the ridiculous look with with a simple half-smile. “Forever.”