Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Time

This past weekend was our (flexible) Christmas meet-up with my best friend and his LONG TERM girlfriend (for those of you accusing me of hiding eligible bachelors from you). We met at a restaurant in Lithonia armed with bags-o-presents. Although I had seen David several times last year this was the first time since our last holiday get-together we had all been together so we caught up on all of the goings-on of each other. Laura talked about her trip to Europe last May, I talked about my trip to Bahrain, Iris about her daughters and other family and David about David. After several hours we exchanged gifts and when it came time for mine, David and Iris both were watching me, rather intensely I thought, and when I opened it I saw why. It was in a small box, in which was a leather drawstring bag, out of which I pulled a silver pocket watch with chain & fob. My breath caught in my chest. It. is. beautiful. It has an intricate engraved pattern, and the dial features the day of the week at the top and date to the right. David explained that he had been wanting to do something special for me, for being there for him when his Dad, and then his Mom passed away. He almost started crying and I had to fight from starting. I mumbled something about what are friends for and then the moment passed and we went back to chatting about this and that.

David and I met when I was a freshman in college (we can't decide if it was late '80 or early '81). He was a few years ahead of me. At the beginning of my sophomore year we became roommates. He would occasionally invite me home for the weekend and so I met his family. His father and uncles were the 2nd generation of craftsmen making furniture. David would take me to the shop and once in a blue moon I would help them on a project - I've helped glue-up desks they were refinishing for the Georgia Senate, I've helped David pull pews out of a church for them to fix and refinish. His father spoke slowly & deliberately, and had a wealth of knowledge at his fingertips about almost anything you cared to talk about. David's mom was as sweet as they come. From the beginning she treated me like one of her own children. When I visited she'd tell me - you know where everything is. Help yourself, you're not company, you're family. When I met and married Laura and brought her to visit, she was welcomed as a new daughter in the family. Through the years when passing through this part of the world we would always visit - and there was always a place for us in their home.

David lost his parents within a year of each other. In both cases, he was living with them, taking care of them. In both instances I took some time off of work and went up to be with David. I didn't do anything special, just hung around and kept him company. I wanted to do more, but didn't know what. I miss his mom and dad, they were among the few constants I've had in my life of moving around. They were always there, glad to see me. I wish I could've done more for them, been there more often but daily life got in the way, raising a family and earning a living - Conyers was always just too far for a spontaneous visit.

At each of their funerals I was reminded of how much they had meant to me and how much David means to me. No matter where I've lived, nor of all of people that have come and gone in my life he's always been my best friend. We were talking Sunday about how we'd be telling each other years from now all of the different ailments we had and what pills we were taking instead of what concert we'd like to see or what bar to visit and I realized that - we would. That no matter what the future held for us, we'd be a part of each other's.

And the pocket watch will be a reminder of that - as if I needed one.

15 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

liv said...

yeah, the reminders are sort of embedded in our hearts, aren't they?

Rachel said...

oh bob!
you made me tear up.
:)

you're very very very blessed to have a friend like that--not everyone has one.

meno said...

That's really sweet of him. I bet you are a wonderful friend.

Can we see a picture of the watch?

Sober Briquette said...

That's extraordinary. I'm glad you've been so fortunate in this friendship.

Bob said...

Liv: your memory fades, but your heart always remembers.

rachel: everyone should.

meno: I couldn't take a picture that did it justice - it reflected the flash every time. This is the best of the lot.

De: I agree - very fortunate.

amusing said...

well, you know, cuz you are family.

That's a nice way to be.

Bob said...

amusing: it's the best.

Susanne said...

It's a beautiful watch and an even more beautiful story. How lucky you are to have each others as friends.

Maggie said...

Friends like that are damn scarce and wonderful to have.

Bob said...

susanne: I think so too.

maggie: I'm beginning to see that. I thought everyone had a best friend.

Mother of Invention said...

What a perfect post for a perfect friend. I love the last sentence. You are indeed lucky. And the watch is such a beautiful reminder.

Bob said...

MoI - he's a good man, I'm lucky to have him as a friend.

JCK said...

Oh, I loved this post... I'm such a sucker for these stories of families who "adopt" other children, as David's did with you. Really, beautiful post.

The pocket watch is stunning. A meaningful gift to mark the passage of time with your friend for life.

Bob said...

jck - I really miss David's folks. they were extra-special people.

flutter said...

oof, this made me all teary!