Do you have a friend who, when you look back at how you grew as friends, you realize how unlikely it is that you grew to be such close friends? I do. I consider him one of my best friends, certainly the best friend I have from my youth/high school days.
To be honest, I couldn’t tell you how Jeremy and I first met. Nor could I tell you why I refer to him as “Kid”. In fact, I probably couldn’t tell you much about my early friendship with him. I just know that, as my high school experience progressed, Jeremy was always a good friend.
We shared a lot of common passions: basketball, movies, PlayStation. We competed in everything. More often than not, Jeremy whalloped me on the court. I still maintain that I could out-thread a movie projector faster. And we were dead even on Jet Moto 2, provided I had the right racer. We both worked at the local movie theater, and after graduation, Jeremy stuck around town and took courses at the community college. He was promoted to the general manager of the theater, which led to shenanigans on slow, midwinter weeknights whenever I was home on break.
For a while, I guess my fears for Jeremy were that he might fall into the common trap of small town America: get a decent job, work, stay your whole life. I knew this wasn’t what he wanted, but I didn’t know how to encourage him to get out. For several years, I chewed on that, wondering how or what I could do to encourage him to get away. So imagine my surprise when he informed me that he was joining the Army! I drove back to party with him and one other friend shortly before he deployed to Iraq, and then my family and I prayed for his safety for the years in-between until he was out. Thankfully, he was discharged safely and has finished his college degree in Iowa.
To this day, we don’t see each other near as much as I would like. Jeremy is one of the few people who knows me best. He was the signor on the marriage certificate for my wife and I. My kids will frequently ask if he can come visit. He was one of three guys who I made the trip with for my 30th birthday weekend. I wish we could hang out more often, but life circumstances being what they are, we have to content ourselves with phone calls every few months and a visit or two per year.
I’ve resigned myself to the fact that, for the time being, that will have to suffice. And it does. I may not always know what is going on in his day-to-day life, nor he mine, but that doesn’t change the fact that I cherish our friendship immensely.
And I have no doubt that, given the opportunity, we’d still race to see who could thread a movie onto a projector faster. And I would probably win. Probably.