How to tell
There's a special way you can tell when someone is meant to be a lifelong friend. It's usually in a simple moment.
You'll know it.
You'll feel it.
Allow me to explain, for those who've yet to experience this phenomena.
I have a best friend. I have a few, actually. I count myself blessed to be able to say that the quality of my friendships in this lifetime are outstanding. Luck hasn't always been by my side but the day I met these treasures of humanity Luck was holding my hand. What's even better is that two of these gems get along perfectly and we often have girls' weekends together. What a blessing.
What's the point you may ask? Ok, time for me to get to it. I want to share with you a little excerpt of how two of my best friends discovered they were besties as well. It will also show you a little piece of why I love them so much...
This March I got Covid. I was sick for four weeks. It was hell. 'Nuff said. I had a 'Come to Jesus' moment in the midst of it. Stuck on my couch and incapable of moving, I realized that I had spent far too much time on that couch these last few years. Letting life pass me by as depression and I consoled each other. I also realized that one day my body will be weak and frail due to age and the shrinking of my telomeres. A fact of life. That one day I will feel this again and have no company other than my memories to entertain me. What does one do when looking mortality square in the eye?
Well, I'll tell you what I did.
I got better,
I joined a gym,
I changed my diet,
I started dancing,
I lost 30 pounds,
I spent more time with other humans and...
I starting taking Jiu Jitsu classes.
When my two pals learned of this plan they asked to join me. Curious about this strange new me who had already dragged them to a burlesque class which they enjoyed, to their great surprise. So, that's how two of my best pals ended up taking Jiu Jitsu classes, without me. You see, I went to classes and had a blast but then I left for the summer to spend it on the opposite side of this continent with my sister and they continued on without me.
One day, the Ethel to my Lucy met up with our now mutual friend whom we shall call 'Fearless', for the sake of anonymity. Now the thing you need to know is that none of us were in shape when I got this genius idea to sign us up for these lessons. Ethel in particular was struggling in class while Fearless surprised everyone by being a complete natural. She took to Jiu Jitsu like a python to a meal, literally, that's what she looks like wrestling men twice her size to the ground. It's beyond impressive. While I was on my soul altering pilgrimage (more on this another time), they were faithfully attending JJ classes. Sadly, Ethel was struggle and had spent some time at home practicing a backwards roll. Sounds simple but at our age, in our shape, not so much. After a great deal of practice she arrived to class one day ready to impress all with her new found ability to roll over backwards during warm up.
Everyone lined up on the mats and began rolling. Fearless went ahead of Ethel and of course, as usual, nailed it.
Ethel, eager to show off her new ability (the entire class knew she struggled with this), launched.
That's when it happened.
The fart heard 'round the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you have never farted in a large empty room with nothing but bare walls and gym mats, oh and about 20 onlookers...well, let me help you out...it echos.
Now this is the important part and the purpose of my story.
This is how you know.
This is how you know with absolute certainty that you have found a lifelong friend.
Ethel froze, mortified...but not Fearless, she was already standing and running to take her place back in line and without missing a beat she tilted her head toward Ethel and said, "Keep moving."
That, my friends, is who you want on your side.
Not one who will laugh hysterically while pointing at you, no.
The person who will give you the courage to pick yourself up and keep moving.
That is how you know you've found a lifelong friend...
(Of course, the conversation that followed, through huffs and puffs of physical exertion and a massive dose of embarrassment was, "When is Heartprints coming home?!" but I was on my own journey, making my own mistakes, and my own version of 'the fart heard round the world' but with no friends to tell me to keep moving. That was a journey I had to endure solo.)
I don't know if I'm the hero or the villain of my story yet, I suppose it depends on who you ask. Perhaps, as I put my experiences into words, you can help me figure it out...