Friday, 6 September 2013

The Bestness of Friends

When I was young, I was surrounded by friends. Boys, mostly - locals and cousins. We built forts and climbed trees and explored the thistley forest that meandered up from the back of our park. I remember one girl friend, who lived maybe 10 minutes away and I can only recall meeting up a couple of times.

In my teens I hit a burst of desperate loneliness. The clique of my peers never really took me in, so I would hang with the other outcasts. As time went on, I met people with more commonalities - one here, one there. I was always the older one, having to deal with immaturities of various sorts - right on up to abandonment in a couple of cases. Even in this I tended to be overdependent, recalling my alone-years and eschewing a return.

Around eighteen I began to learn how to stand on my own for real. To see my worth apart from my friendships. It hurt, but I grew stronger, if always wistful. It was probably around that time that I gained my first actual equal friends. Two of them, and three years later when they fell in love, I left the country. Coincidence? Or was I running away? I still don't know, even though they're still among my besties.

Alone again in Germany, but not for long. There were intense friendships, since broken, some healed or on the way. In any case, I went through the wringer. Emerging to a strange empty newness, I began to write again.

The writing led me to wonderful friends. True kindred spirits, but not any nearby. No problem. I'll chat and skype and even visit, though I know it's too much to expect the same in return. I'm the travelbug with no dependents and a very mobile job, after all. Still...wistful. New Zealand's a heck of a place you know. Everyone should come.

I have chosen to live here because it's my home. My family is here - well, the core of it, even if many are scattered across the world much like my true friends. I go crazy if I spend too long away from the sea. But I will travel, and live from trip to trip.

I was raised to be inclusive, a principle in which I still believe strongly, and that means never singling out any one person as my best friend. Seems like an insult to other friends, really, and I don't want to do that. I've been betrayed often enough that I won't throw myself at anyone like I did in my teens. But if you give me reason to like you, you better believe I don't go away.

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