Until I was 10, my best friend was a man 45 years older than I.
We did many of the things best friends would do. Most mornings we’d have breakfast together: He would have a coffee and a cinnamon twist and I would have an orange juice and a cranberry orange muffin from Dunkin Donuts. We would reach each other’s work: He would critique my homework and I would proofread his rental contracts. In spite of the gender divide, we would allow one to choose clothing for the other: He would pick out my dresses on those rare occasions I received brand new party dresses, always blue or yellow or green, and I would pick out his outfits, always some combination of a neutral short-sleeved cotton button-down shirt and light-colored jeans.
On some nights we’d stay awake until the early morning hours talking about religion, history, books, family. Others, we’d lay a blanket in the yard and stare at the sky. He’d point out the stars and teach me constellations. Occasionally we’d be interrupted by the headlights of a passing car or the orange burn of his cigarette. Sometimes I’d fall asleep and he’d have to take me inside and tuck me into bed. If not, then he would invite me on his bed where he’d read books, passages punctuated by his deep inhalation on a True Blue filtered cigarette.
We spoke to each other about relationships. I would confide in him my frustrations with never having a playmate, with my irritation with my younger sisters or how hurt I was by how I was ignored by my older siblings. He would talk about his childhood with his parents or occasionally about the challenges of being married and how important it is to be understanding of your spouse.
Dad and I were close. Read the rest of this entry »