We met when I was 8 years old. Old people referred to it as puppy love, which my 8-year-old mind did not comprehend. I was not a puppy and neither was he. I turned to him whenever I needed to vent or whenever I needed a good laugh. He always provided an outlet for me to truly express myself.
I showed him off to others, whenever we were together. My parents liked him; my three-year-old brother played with him. My classmates and teachers appreciated him and my grandmother encouraged him. I don’t know what it was about him that intrigued me. We continued to share a close friendship until I went to college. Then, we drifted apart.
I made new friends. I cultivated other interests and he did not seem relevant anymore. Every now and again if I was feeling low, we would talk over a bag of bite-sized Tostitos, but nothing more. Soon, I became ashamed of him. For, I was a grown and mature college student and he was still that same person I met in elementary school.
I graduated from college, completed internships out-of-state, and moved 300 miles away to attend graduate school in Boston. The two years I spent in Boston were some of my best years, but it was also a confusing time. What should I do after graduation? Is this other person a true friend? What in the world was I put on earth for? When will I ever get married? What type of guy do I want to date? These are all questions that made me turn to him for answers. The ironic thing was that he never had the answer either. He simply listened. Sometimes, he challenged me to re-evaluate some of the decisions I was making. Sometimes, he allowed me process whatever I was experiencing at the time. But he never judged me, which made feel free. I could be my true self around him.
We rekindled our friendship when I traveled to West Africa for the first time in my life. I confided in him my thoughts and experiences and again, we became as we were when I was 8 years old – inseparable.
The funny thing about life is we do not value what is always around us. We engage with such people or things sometimes but when we become bored, we find something else to fill our time. We’ll turn to other friends, other hobbies, and even things that are not good for us – to fill our time. That is exactly what I’ve been doing my entire life.
Through it all, he’s been my rock – my constant, steady source of support. I draw life from him. I am fulfilled by him. I am my true self around him. He makes me incredibly happy. With him, my entire life makes sense.
What is his name you ask? Sure, I’ll tell you. His name is writing and we’ve been at it for years.