I’ve been scratching my head, trying to think of a gift for one of my besties. He’s one of those guys that department store catalogues describe as “the man who has everything”. In other words: virtually impossible to buy for. And today is his birthday.
We’re presently on opposite sides of the world so I can’t give him a big fuck-off hug, savour a fancypants meal with him, or neck 300 Jamesons’ in his honour. So, I decided on an old-fashioned love letter.
We’ve known each other since we were kids, haven’t we? To my reckoning, you were in the 7th Grade. I was in 10th. That makes it 25 years. A quarter of a fucking century. I think that makes us Officially Old, my friend.
I can’t quite remember the specifics of how it was when we met. It may have been at an inter-schools student leadership camp.
And I’m not really clear on how our friendship evolved from there but one of my earliest memories is your mum dropping you off to my 17th birthday party. She sternly wagged her finger at me & warned me not to get you drunk. I’m *pretty sure* that was the first time you drank Tequila. And I’m *pretty sure* your poor old Mum wiped you off the bathroom floor that night.
There were many more parties after that. And you were always there til stumps. You still are.
Life ebbed & flowed. And as a result there were times when we didn’t see so much of each other. You moved to Japan for a while. And then to Canberra. I got lost in love. I travelled through Europe for 6 months. I moved down the coast. You got married. There were renovations. Careers that got in the way.
But we always stayed in touch. Calls. Visits. Letters. Cards. I have all yours stowed away safely in a shoebox. I think we’re incredibly lucky to have lived in a time when people actually put pen to paper. To think there will be people who will never have such precious memories in a tangible form! (And to that end, I’m sorry this isn’t one of those letters & I urge you to print it out in case one day my Dad breaks the internet.)
Over the last 5 years or so – we’ve been able to spend a lot more time together and I feel like the bond has grown stronger.
We have been fortunate to have jobs where we got to do lots of cool things after work. Sold-out gigs, gallery openings, bangin’ parties, fine dining. It’s been fun being your ‘Plus One’ (and having you as mine).
And, yes I admit, I did think it was kinda cool in a ‘this is so silly’ way to get picked up in a limo from work and be driven to a red carpet entrance at a venue, just two blocks away. That said, I do still think you owe me big time for that dreadfully boring 80th birthday ‘bash’ of that famous classical musician that no-one our age has ever heard of.
You’ve always been bighearted with me, Scott. Sometimes I’d come home to an empty apartment after a rubbish day at work, I’d pick up the phone and you’d intuitively be on the other end. More recently… when I was trying to dig my way out of a bit of a pit – you checked in on me daily until I found my ground.
One night I valiantly decreed I would be our designated driver to a party we were going to. I then had one too many, picked up an outrageously hot guy & left the car (and you) there. You not only got yourself home, but while I was dying a slow death the next morning – you picked up my car, filled her up & had her washed.
You’ve showered me with some ludicrously generous gifts including the biggest bouquet of flowers ever, on a particularly lonely Valentine’s Day. A thoughtfully created house-warming hamper with the ‘right’ sort of teatowels (I didn’t even know there was such a thing). And an iPad when I set off on these travels.
You were instrumental in making my ‘surprise’ 40th birthday party, a totally rockin’ affair. And then just two months ago you were good enough to visit my dad for his 65th birthday and help me surprise him with a Skype date on your laptop.
Scott – if I’ve never told you, here are just some of the reasons why I love you:
You’re the ultimate gentleman (taking after your gorgeous grandfather, may he RIP). You always find the positive in every situation. You treat all people with respect. You’re a natural leader. I’ve never once heard you raise your voice. I like that you have an appreciation for the finer things in life. You are measured. And smart. You laugh easily. You’re a go-getter. And I like that the older you get, the more energy you seem to have.
But you’ll have to be a bit faster if you want to catch up with me, mate.
So, here are my birthday wishes for you, babe: That your day-to-day life energises you. That you find time for simple pleasures. And that you be blessed with the love of someone who will see you as I do.
Love always, your old friend