Friends Like These

Listen to this post as a recording gone awry: Friends Like These Blogcast.mp3

Friends come. Friends go. Friends whisper past and disappear forever. Friends borrow your shit. Break you shit. Keep your shit and never give it back. Friends lie. Friends cheat. Friends steal. Friends break your heart. You theirs. Friends are best kept close. Enemies closer. Difference by degrees. Friends whisper past and disappear forever.

Friends come. Friends go. Friends borrow your car and crash it into tunnel pillars, killing your future queen. Friends invite you out and stand you up. Friends make you cry. Tears of laughter. Joy. Boy, oh boy. Friends whisper past and disappear forever.

Friends come. Friends go. Friends whisper past and disappear forever, only to return to where they belong long stretches later and you wince with the pain from too much nostalgic laughter. Friends grow up. Friends get lost. Friends get long lost. Friends grow up and wiggle and spit and shout and scream and come running back hollering in your ear about that time in that place where that stuff went on and no one noticed but the pair of friends who laugh about it now to themselves unlike everyone else everywhere else.

Friends come. Friends go. Friends wax. Friends wane. Friends are static. Friends are clingy. Friends remind you why you wore those sweatshirts in the first place. Friends are why you fought like that in the first place. Friends are a fist fight waiting to happen, wanted or not.

Friends grow up. Grow old. Move up. Move on. Friends comeback to you later. When you least expect it. When you most need it. When you can’t live without it any longer and your guts get wound tighter than the skins of old jazz drummers drums. Pop. Pop. Pop. Friends go off into the dark beyond your vision and wander aimlessly, you think. Never to return, you think. You think lots of things, often. You think lots of your friends. Often. You think lots of your long lost friends, often. Sighing and trudging on through the snowstorm no matter how much it makes your face sting and throb and bleed. Because that is what friends are for.

Friends come. Friends go. Friends prompt message penned in mid-afternoon bouts of retrospective retreat into lonely little orange rooms overlooking lonely little orange brick buildings. Empire State Buildings. Friends whisper past and disappear forever.

Friends don’t let friends play softball.

Friends sit in dank, dark bunkers retelling funny, sad stories from their life before. You laugh. You cry. You laugh again. You sit up late into the night. In the dark. Laughing. Crying. Laughing until your face stings and throbs and bleeds. Then you fall asleep.

Then you wake up from unsettling dreams laughing. Things fall silent out side your window. Outside your little orange sanctuary. Outside the din of unsettling dreams. Except for the ever-present drip-drip-drip of the broken cold-water tap on the old lavabo in the bathroom that sits a quarter of an inch away from your head as you dream unsettling dreams. Chinese Water Torture. Testimony given under duress, confessions brought about by torture, are unreliable, unethical, and bittersweet. I will tell you anything if you will be my friend. I will tell you anything to keep you from whispering past and disappearing forever. I will tell you anything. Waking up in cold sweats to Bryan Adams telling you the same thing. “Everything I do, I do it for you.”

Friends sent signals which cross and loop and tie themselves in knots so tight you can’t shake your mind loose and you just end up sleeping through unsettling dreams due to exhaustion. Weird week as far as weird weeks go. Not so much for what was done, what was said, who was met and where. So much for what was thought and felt and which signals were tossed, crossed, lost, tied in knots and wouldn’t let you go. Friends whisper past and disappear forever. Forever.

The whispering of friends grows softer as the sun grows brighter out over Newfoundland. And as the sun burns away the first fog of morning the friends’ whispers burn away too. Lost forever. Refound. New found. Delight of first light. Beaming, bursting, stinging, throbbing, bleeding. Tears on top of tears. Glad ones drown sad ones. All the better. What are friends for? Other than talking all night about things that will seem silly come first light? Delightfully so.

Friends come. Friends go. Friends run up beside you in shopping malls and super markets and super market shopping malls and scare the shit out of you. And laugh. And call you names. Douche bag, ass clown, fucker, terms of endearment. Yawn. Swoon. Friends scream past and disappear forever.

What are friends for other than living? Loving? Dying? Growing up? Growing old? Wondering whatever happened to them? Only to find out they are the same as they ever were. Good, bad, or otherwise. Only to find out they might look the same, just older, but are something else completely. Life does that to friends. Takes them away. Brings them back. The same. Different.

I lie awake at night wondering whatever happened to Russell W____—who brought his Presidents of the United States of America over to my house and puked all over the bathroom in seventh grade; Cory W_____—who was my gym class two-step partner in fifth grade; August E_____—with whom I made a pact to get sweet ninja haircuts and live with in a castle when we grew up in third grade; Tyler C_____—who was the muscle in our band of hooligans in first grade; Blaine E_____—with whom I made a snowball bigger than the both of us during first recess only to have the girls steal it at lunch recess, causing us to swear—for the first time, in second grade; James E_____—Blaine’s brother from second grade who is just a name to me now; Phillip A_____—who was alright in my books when he showed up the first day of school wearing a sweatshirt with hockey players on it in second grade, Chris U_____—who was the brunt of blonde hair-black eye-brows cracks in ninth grade; Chris C_____—who I called Topher in sixth grade; Stephan S_____—who I punched off of the jungle gym for chewing his pencil in second grade; Jayce D_____—who taught me what pogs were when he brought them back from holiday and let me be the first player with him in seventh grade; James R_____—who took up smoking because his father was the principal in ninth grade; Chad C_____—who was my closest ally as we tried to exonerate Germany and Austro-Hungary in WWI Risk in Social Studies class in tenth grade; Joey D_____—who sat with me on the bus and told me every detail of WWF Monday Night Raw every Tuesday morning in tenth grade; Brandon H_____—who had effeminate handwriting in spite of masculine everything else since forth grade; Shane B_____—who pierced his ear with a staple in third grade; Dale P_____—who was my partner for sucking bugs through straws in first grade; Jordan S_____—who thought I talked shit about his girlfriend, which I didn’t, whom I didn’t know who was, but when I found out I wanted to talk shit about in ninth grade; Byron W_____—who stabbed me with a pencil for no reason in first grade; Aaron K_____—who co-authored a “How to Pick Up Women” manual which centred around ‘is it hot in here or is it just you?’ in ninth grade (still awaiting publication); Alan S_____—who was my dad’s favourite, he called him Al, in fifth grade; Kendall S_____—who almost killed a kid with a flash light in the woods on a camping trip in eleventh grade; Justin R_____—who scored a touchdown without pants playing flag football in tenth grade; Ryan L_____—who pulled my pants down in front of his own mother in second grade; and Paul—who used to pull his pants down to his ankles to use the urinals in first grade.

I lie awake at night wondering whatever happened to Ashley H_____—who I fell in love with for a week in first grade; Jenny F_____—who didn’t like to participate in gym class, to my chagrin, in eighth grade; Lindsay T_____—who I hear is back around after moving away in fifth grade; Christie P_____—who seemed to be wherever Jenny was ever since kindergarten, Jolene N_____—who now goes by Jo; Chelsea G_____—who I followed around like a puppy all of tenth grade; Alycia C_____—who I cannot place anywhere other than my standing creepily close to her in our class photo in kindergarten; Caroline R_____—who said all of three words in twelve years, only to recite the most devastating version of Edgar Alan Poe’s “The Raven” in eleventh grade; Chrisity C_____—who got in a fight with another girl and had to write a 1,000 word essay to apologize, which I saw on the teachers desk, titled “1,000 word S.A.” in fifth grade; Angie S_____—whose dad owned the A&W; Gina—whose last name is lost; Kathryn M_____—who asked me out to grad and I didn’t take her, without rhyme or reason why, in twelfth grade; Keely J_____—who kicked my ass in a wrestling match in gym class in eleventh grade; Kristi D_____—with whom I would talk all class about who the coolest New Kid was in first grade; Kelsey M_____—who all the boys loved except for me in fourth grade; Kathy G_____—who I dated for two whirlwind weeks in second grade; Francine C_____—who I despised because she was better at Language Arts than I was in fifth grade; Victoria S_____—who was majestic and good at math in third grade; and Megan G_____—who was Cory Whalen’s two-step partner in sixth grade, who liked my antics and blue sweat pants Mr. Berry’s science class in eighth grade, who moved away in ninth grade; who, through some miracle and extraordinary coincidence, ended up being my grad date in twelfth grade, who went to my university and managed to miss me, or avoid me, for five years, who I wonder less and less about every day thanks to much more happy coincidence and delightful circumstance.

Friends come. Friends go. Friends whisper past and disappear forever. Friends live. Breath. Laugh. Love. Die. Friends read these things and think I am talking about them. Friends named Paul cry, “I never pulled my pants down to my ankles to use the urinals in first grade.” If friends only knew...
Photo of my friends: St. Matthew's School Kindergarten class of 1988-89. Caroline Area Man can be seen on the right-hand side hiding his giant blond head on a stick pin blue-shirted body behind some pretty girl named Alycia.


jillian said...

An inspiring piece Morgan! I'm itching to test my own friend recall ability, I just need a ol'school class photo like this one.
Clever title too, good work.

Anonymous said...

quite humorous morgy, and i don't even know half of the people your talking about, i'm kinda curious the one liner that you'd throw on there about me haha. Billy V

james said...

this is james radchenko. who is this person who wrote this?, how does this person know who i am?, and more importantly, why is this person writing about me?