“I just learned on a TED Talk that you can conserve paper towels by folding them in half first before drying your hands on them. It actually works. Here, try it,” she said, handing me a folded paper towel.
I guess I had a choice in the matter. But from what I’ve found in the past, these restroom interactions generally go quicker with smiling and agreement. Any sure-is-cold-out or this-soap-dispenser-is-so-strange sink encounters are just a quick byway to the door to omit acknowledgment of where we meet. In front of our own waste. But literal hand-to-hand interaction was new.
So, even though I had already mostly dried my hands on a paper towel, I dried my hands on the paper towel she folded for me. I guess it worked okay. But what I said instead was, “Wow! That really does work!” I thought this might be suitable enough to get me out and onward, but instead, she blocked the door, looked me right in the eye and said–
“Yeah. It does work. And from now on, you will always remember me, every single time you go to dry your hands.”
And then she left.
She wasn’t wrong. It’s been almost two years, and every time I use more than one paper towel, and I think– Dammit. I should’ve folded it first. And I picture her standing there, shaking her head in an I-told-you-so sort of way. But for the life of me, I can’t ever remember to do it in time to not remember her.
And then there was this–
“This is going to be an amazing night,” David said, showing us where to set up. He was throwing a party, and generously invited us to be part of it. We would play six songs he chose from our catalog, and had enough food and drinks and invitations to rest that we were having a pretty cushy evening. We’ve played plenty of house shows. We love them, and couldn’t quite see how this one would be any more amazing than the rest. Except that David kept telling us that it was going to be amazing– the most amazing. An incredible night. Unforgettable.
We agreed to play because we like David. We agreed because he asked us, and is kind. But unforgettable seemed like a tall order. Until everyone gathered. David told his friends and family this was going to be an amazing night. And then, David told the group about his last year– how he had been through hell and back through medical troubles, severe depression, and even some thoughts that made him believe he didn’t want to stick around long enough to find out if he could love life again. There, in front of some of his own darkness, he was insisting that we were connected.
“This is an amazing night,” he said. “It’s not perfect, but it’s incredible. Unforgettable.” And it was contagious, this belief. Suddenly each person seemed to glow with the realization. It landed. David spoke it into existence, and it really was amazing. That each of these people gathered here, that each of them had somehow helped this man, that each of them could see him standing there in front of them because he didn’t give up. That he knew that he was loved and in turn loved.
Amazing. Incredible. Unforgettable.
If David hadn’t told us all so, we may have missed it. We may not have realized it at all.
My Someone and I are in the middle of a best friend fight with our best friend. We are trying hard to keep from saying the sorts of things that would echo years later, while also blocking the door, trying to get him to see us again.
“You won’t forget us,” we seem to be pleading, all the while wondering if he already has. There is only so much you can fit in before it becomes a hostage situation, and such limited time makes it difficult to recall almost ten years of who we have been while he is simply trying to get out the door. So we have abrupt phone call endings and erratic texts.
We are very low functioning best friend fighters. The grit-your-teeth-and-make-yourself-the-fool-for-love type.
And as much as we all may want to be angry forever, we seem ingrained in the sort of things in each other’s lives that may make it difficult to dry our hands or cook our dinners or drive through certain places without feeling the other person standing there, lurking in an I-told-you-so sort of way.
So I am considering switching my tactic. Instead of I-told-you-so, I think I will try I-love-you-so. And maybe also “This is going to be amazing! Watch this– watch it– see how big our friendship is? See how much it endures? See how small we are but how big is love? Incredible!”
And maybe with a little repetition and reassurance, it will make it so, turning the I-told-you-so into the I-love-you-so.