what 18 years of friendship will do for you

My friend Rod, who I have known for 18 years–can you believe that? It doesn’t seem right, that I’ve been alive for way more than 18 years–is leaving tomorrow afternoon, after staying with me for a full week. On the one hand, yay! I get my house back and my days back and the proofreading that has been stacking up dangerously, terrifyingly high can finally dwindle again and I’ll get to hang out with my boyfriend for more than ten minutes at a time and go back to my regular routines (for four days, before I leave for BlogHer, but I’ll worry about that when it shows up and slaps me in the face).

On the other hand, boo. This has been such a good week, and I have remembered all over again why Rod and I have remained friends since I was 17 years old and dumb and crazy and making mistakes all over the place. He lets me absolutely be myself–my most awful, bitchy, rotten self, my incredibly silly, bouncy, crazy self–in a way that few people can. I feel absolutely comfortable around Rod, and I can tell him anything at all. I can confess major screw-ups and horrible thoughts and terrible deeds, and beautiful insane dreams of world domination and plans and portents and ideas and signs I have seen, and he is always, always on my side.



We’ve lived an entire continent apart for almost ten years now, and
sometimes we go weeks and months without anything but the occasional
email. And then he comes and spends a week with me on my futon, and it
is one of those things where you fall right back into comfort and
camaraderie. We are really good at being comfortable and hilarious, and
we are really good at irritating the shit out of each other, and we are
really good at making plans and also doing nothing at all, in equal and
equally enjoyable measures.

This has been a really good week. We got so much done on our
book–writing a bunch of whole new chapters, swapping them back and
forth for edits, planning around deviations, major and minor, from the
sketch of an outline. Making sure we’re on the same page, as far as
characters and their voices, their mannerisms, their hair colors. We
ran around like crazy people. I showed him the hiking trails, my
favorite restaurants, my new apartment. We ran errands–boxes over to
the new place, printing projects, groceries and the groomers. We flew
around during the day, and sat on the stoop at night, drinking white
wine and watching the cat chase moths in the yard, catching each other
up on the things we can’t believe we didn’t tell the other person
about, one million years ago. The news, the notes, the tiny epiphanies,
the brand-new plans.

He’s flying out tomorrow, and I am going to miss the hell out of him.
We are going to get a little sniffly, swear to god we’re going to stay
in touch, every single day, we’re going to talk all the time, we’re not
going to drift and we will, because that’s how it works. But in a few
months or a year, he’ll be back on my couch, or I’ll be sitting on his
fire escape, and we will be drinking white wine and it will be like we
never left.

  14 comments for “what 18 years of friendship will do for you

  1. Mira
    July 11, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Is Rod gay?? If not, why does your boyfriend have no issues with that relationship?? because he definitely should!!

  2. Lori
    July 11, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Mira: what,so men and women can’t be friends and not fuck? Seriously? Maybe Anne’s boyfriend is actually secure in their relationship, is that possible, too?

  3. Anonymous
    July 11, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    That is a ridiculous question. Why should Anne’s boyfriend have any issues with her friendship with Rod, especially since Anne said that they have been friends since long before E. was even in the picture? It may very well be that E. is not concerned because he has no reason to be. I seriously doubt that has anything to do with whether Rod is gay or straight.

  4. Mira
    July 11, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Any straight guy (as in her boyfriend in this example) who honestly cares about his girlfriend & is a MAN would have issues with her relationship w/Rod unless he’s sure Rod’s gay or he doesn’t really love her. end of story. Nothing wrong with having male friends but there are limits when you’re actually involved with someone else.

  5. Lori
    July 11, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Wow, I actually feel a little sorry for you now, Mira.
    At any rate, I was originally going to leave a cheerful little comment about what a great post this is, and how much it made me miss my good friend James from back in the day (who lives in Alaska while I live in Australia, so no visits anytime soon!), but now I just feel compelled to point out that my male partner really doesn’t have an issue with ANY of my male friends (and I don’t have an issue with any of his female friends, either, while we’re discussing it). Because, y’know, of the trust and stuff. And because neither of us are jealous control freaks. :)

  6. Fouz
    July 11, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    I’m a straight male and I have to go with Mira on this one. Plus I can vouch for my male friends that they would have to agree. Nothing to do with security, its about mutual trust and common decency. And it should go both ways too. Too many women out there are too open with themselves and relations with males–NOTE: big reason for many of their issues in having successful and healthy relationships with their significant others. Peace.

  7. Anonymous
    July 11, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Any straight guy (as in her boyfriend in this example) who honestly cares about his girlfriend & is a MAN would have issues with her relationship w/Rod unless he’s sure Rod’s gay or he doesn’t really love her.
    Nothing to do with security, its about mutual trust and common decency.
    Mutual trust and common decency absolutely does include having trust in your partner. That trust means that being suspicious of their relationships with the opposite sex and assuming that there has to be something physical involved smacks of being controlling to me — trying to dictate who they can and can’t be friends with, especially if that friendship came about long before you were a part of that person’s life.
    It scares me to think that the proof of caring for or loving someone and being a MAN (or WOMAN, for that matter) involves being jealous and insecure. If that is how you live, good luck with that.

  8. stlwtr
    July 11, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Wow….Anne puts herself out there and talks about this great friend of hers and how much she loves him and how despite their best intentions they don’t keep in touch as much as they both would like but once they get together it’s like they were never apart (which I think more than a few of us can relate to), and what happens? People start focusing on her relationship with E. WTF?? Quite frankly, I don’t think that is any of our business. Every relationship is different. As long as it (whatever “it” is) is mutually acceptable to both parties, why does anyone else give a rat’s ass and feel they need to comment on it?? Especially when said opinion was not not asked for. I’ve never understood that…..

  9. Leah
    July 11, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Well said, stlwtr — thank you!

  10. Mira
    July 11, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Well, my last comment here is that you women must either have p_ ssies for men or you’re so unattractive that your men have no cause for concern, discomfort or wonder regarding your other male relationships. You need to talk to your men tonight!! I’d do it for you but chances are good that they’d fall for me and I’m just not interested.

  11. lb
    July 11, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Mira, I think the problem is more with your man being too unattractive/unintelligent/small penis-y. I have plenty of male friends and my partner doesn’t give a damn, because I tell him all the time that I’ve never been with anyone as hot, smart or good in bed as he is. Why the hell would I stray with all that waiting for me at home? I’m sorry you’re not attracted to your partner… I have learned that you should NEVER settle for less than the best. I hope you can, too.
    p.s. What about people who are bi? Are they not allowed to have ANY friends?

  12. spiderbite
    July 11, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Oh, phew. Blanking out the “u” in “pussies” makes everything so much less offensive.

  13. Anne
    July 11, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Mira, your comments are incredibly rude and insulting. Say whatever you want about my entries–I put myself out there, expecting that–but you will not start attacking other commenters here.
    Rod is not gay. E and my relationship is built on mutual trust and respect. Your suggestion that my boyfriend (or anyone’s) is, somehow, defective because he is not so ignorant and suspicious as to think that I am incapable of conducting a friendship with a man, and that my friend is incapable of conducting a friendship with a woman without being secretly in love with her is–well, ignorant and suspicious and absolutely ridiculous.
    Thank you, everyone else, for your responses and your super-smartness. You guys are awesome, as always, and I’m very lucky all around.

  14. anon
    July 14, 2008 at 11:22 am

    I was going to comment seriously to Mira but, damnit, I came to this party too late. (that’s what I get for leaving Friday posts for Monday morning). And then her second comment pretty much squashed any desire to sincerely address her thoughts.
    Mira, I really do feel sorry for you–but less so after reading your second comment. I’m assuming you (and your boyfriend) are very young, both because of your juvenile thoughts about what loving relationships are all about and because you are apparently incapable of not degenerating what could have been an interesting discussion into ridiculous name calling and insults.
    For the record, real men–and real women!–are secure and confident in their relationships and do not feel threatened by, or jealous of, platonic friendships. If they really think they have reason to be suspicious, they’re obviously with the wrong person.

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