Nine years ago today.

I don’t even think I knew what “best friend” meant nine years ago. It’s not about giggling and whispering into the night (though we do that, sometimes). It’s knowing that there’s someone around who knows your true self and who likes you because of and in spite of it. Not having to apologize for who you are, for what you want to do, for your likes and your dislikes.

That’s not to say that there’s not apologizing. The day is full of apologies: the apology for stealing the sheets, the apology for that accidental kick when you rolled over in bed, the apology as you scoot around him in the bathroom, the apology for needing to be where he is in the kitchen, the apology for not realizing he had something scheduled, the apology for not being home to help start dinner. Sometimes you feel as if all you do is apologize, but you know that is a good thing, because considering someone outside of yourself is hard, and you want to do it right.

There are other considerations too. When should you hold hands and guide each other through difficult experiences and when should you stand by and cheer as the other person is brave and grows strong? It’s a careful balance. Just knowing that someone is there with you makes it easier to be brave and strong, whether that means quitting a job, making a difficult phone call, or just taking a swimming lesson.

Best friends know the small things, the things that no one else would notice. He gets napkins for me at the movie theater because he knows I won’t use the blow dryers in the bathroom. He feeds Big Bunny so that I don’t have an allergic reaction to her hay. He borrows a copy of an out-of-print Sam Phillips album for me to listen to. He reads the books I love. He dreams with me about the future: expanding our house, expanding our family.

Nine years ago, I could not have imagined that our life would look like it does. We thought we were on a different path and that we would be in a different place than we are now. But I like where we are and all the things we’ve learned along the way. I am especially thankful for the person who has traveled with me through it all. Mike, thanks for being my best friend and for everything that means.

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