I miss my best friend.

That’s misleading. I live with and am attached to my best friend.

Let me start over.

About two months ago, my best friend moved out. No, it was three months ago. Gosh. How weird. He was my best friend in the whole world. We became that way because (partly because) his wife left him. It seemed like a natural change. Well, not his wife leaving him. The part where we became best friends.

It was great. It was awesome. We watched the same cartoons, were at a similar place spiritually, similar interests, all the right ingredients for a best-friendship. I stayed up late with the poor guy just being with him while he couldn’t understand, or cried, or didn’t know if he could cry. I bought him dinners and concert tickets, we called each other for anything we could. Eventually, we decided we would move in together. His words: I won’t screw you over. The same day we moved in, his wife came back.

It was still good. For a few months, it was really good. Then, all of a sudden it went from, “we’ll move out in fall” to “we’re moving out in a month” to “they actually left that day.” He still owes me a hundred bucks, but it’s not that money is the problem. The problem is: if I steal 20 bucks from you, or give you a black eye, and you call me on it, and I apologize but don’t give you your money back or give you a steak to put on your eye, I’m not really sorry. The hundred bucks is a non issue, it’s the fact that it means the two of us have parted forever. That’s what sucks.

My wife tells me I’ve had more than most people do in the good/best friend department. I suppose it’s true.

First grade was Daniel. I tried to stay the night at his house 3 times before I finally did it without crying and going and going home because I was so scared. I accidentally wet the bed too.

Second through fourth grades sucked balls. I bounced through at least 3 schools. I can only remember 2 friends. One of which, whose name I forget, was only my friend because we were the two least liked kids in the class. I hated my teacher, and kind of hated my life (what I can remember of it) at the time. I remember I didn’t go to school for close to two weeks because I dreaded seeing her so much. God bless my mom, she let me stay home.

Another of those two was a little blond girl whose name I no longer remember. But I remember thinking she was neat, and we were friends until some kids teased her about having a boyfriend, and then she ran away from me and never came back.

In fourth grade I met Matt. Him and I were instantly inseparable. We were in general very similar. The way we had grown up, where our parents came from, the stuff we were into. He threw up on me. Actually, he did a lot of throwing up. Poor kid. I still talk to him occasionally.

In that era somewhere, after 1st grade, and before Matt, I remember that red haired kid that no one likes. He smells a little, you can tell his parents don’t really take good care of him, his hair’s messy, and you can tell he’s smart, but doesn’t know how to interact. I feel bad for that kid. I tried so hard to be nice to him and be his friend. I didn’t always succeed. I hope he’s doing well. My heart hurts to think of him. He rides his bike up and down my street now, and I wish him the best. Somehow, 400 miles and 14 years apart, he’s the same kid. Still awkward, still messy, still angry, still lonely. I see him and I ache and pray he gets the friend he needs.

Fourth grade was Kyle when we moved to “the city.” It was kyle for a really long time. At least 7 or 8 years. Our friendship was actually founded on a lie at first. He told my dad (who met him before I did. He lived across the street from me) that he was into X-Men and Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the belated begreated Gargoyles, and all the things a boy of 10 with discerning tastes would fancy. He didn’t. He played baseball and soccer, and cried if he was away from home for too long. Somehow though, we were best friends for a long time.

Then Dane. We played football together. Neither of us really liked it. At least not the amount that most Americans think healthy junior high boys should. We latched onto eachother for a good 3 years, movies and books being our two binding forces. Stories. That’s what we wanted. Eventually, he got a girlfriend that turned into a fiance that turned into a wife, all without me knowing. He disappeared, and it hurt, and I was mad.

David Z was in there too. He was originally the boyfriend of a friend (loosely). Music, videogames and spirituality were our binding forces. We were pretty thick for awhile. We played music together, saw shoes, did a lot of talking. I went to his house during a crazy party. It sucked. His girlfriend got smashed, told him all about what a loser he was, and started hitting him before passing out in the middle of the street. Eventually, it fell apart when the two of them parted ways. He went to Arizona, and when he came back, he was a different person. But not better.

Then there came a time when I was in art school. I didn’t really have friends. I was depressed because art school is a depressing experience. My spirituality was waning. It had become ill fitting, the things I learned lacked depth. For years I waxed and waned with church, trying churches, being involved in the ones I knew, all of a sudden becoming really involved and energized, then feeling depleted. Each depletion growing deeper, each charge growing shallower. It wasn’t until I experienced a total church bottom out that I could come out again.

When I finally quit going, I felt rested. Finally. A weight lifted. And while I was hurt and angry that no one from any of my prior church lives (at least three) never asked about me or where I was or called or anything, I felt a healing somewhere in spirit forms. And then I re-met mike.

I had known Mike in and out during my time in church. I ran into him at one of the churches I was trying to use as a panacea, and he turned my theological world inside out. So much had changed in, on, and around him. He got me to drink my first beer (which I love). Smoke my first pipe (the legal kind, which I love). Smoke my first cigar (which tastes like ass). He also got me thinking about theology in a way I had never thought before. All of a sudden, I was alive again! Here I am 2 years later, still thinking on his impact on me. The year we spent together has done incalcuable good to my very soul. Then he got married (good on him! His wife is wonderful) That drew a necessary shortening on the time we could spend together.

My time with him lead me to a place called Satellite, which became the house church I attended for a year. My spirituality continued to just boom and blossom in ways it never has. It’s also the place where Robert and I became such friends, before the house, and the near divorce, and the hundred dollars.

Being married is kind of funny that way. It’s like everyone I know is waiting for me to make the first move. I kind of understand, but at the same time, what kind of friendship is it if one side is always making any move?

All this to say that I can see my wife is right when she tells me I’ve had more than most. It seems that most of the time I’ve had at least one for most of my life. It just sucks when you lose one under such nebulous and frustrating circumstances. I trust another one is coming, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less. Right now, my responsibility and opportunity is to get to better know my most permanent (and first girl) best friend.