(Originally created 11.30.06)

I watched my neighbor on our porch tonight.  She didn’t know I was watching.  I had gotten up from bed to see what the dog was muttering to herself about and looked through my front door’s spy hole.  I don’t think it was my neighbor the dog heard, because she wasn’t talking.  She had her phone to her ear, but she wasn’t saying anything.  She held it there for about a minute, then closed it without a word.  I wondered if she was just checking her voicemail or trying, unsuccessfully, to call someone.

Before she closed her phone, she burnt the tip of a cigarette and gave it a short pull.  I wondered, now, who she was trying to call.  After the call was over, she gave her square a longer pull.  This one she brought back, deep inside her breath and, after a second’s pause, raised her chin and blew out a steady line of smoke.  She looked back down at her phone… then took another drag… down to the phone…. another drag.  Without ashing, she finished the entire cigarette in about two minutes and walked back into her apartment.

The phone didn’t ring.  I can’t help but wonder who she called, who she was waiting to have a call from, and if they were the same person.  I wonder if he’ll call her tonight at all.  Did they have a fight?  Did they just meet?  Is it a secret?  Maybe it was her best friend, or mother, or maybe just her voicemail turned into a timer to see how fast she could finish a smoke.

Who do you think of late at night?  As you lie in bed, or stand on your porch in your pajamas with a smoke or drink in your hand, who is it that keeps you up or puts you to a calm sleep?

I imagine for anyone, it could be a number of people on any given night depending on what you have dealt with today, yesterday or last week; but those insignificant thoughts usually only stick with us for a moment before they are dumped in our stress trash.  They don’t cause us to burn a square in record time.  Those last images before you fall asleep, or feelings that make your heart beat faster and stomach turn upside down – those are usually reserved for individuals with significant persuasion of the heart.

I am sure my neighbor had thought about more than who was supposed to be on the other line, but all she cared about for those few minutes was whether he/she would pick up;  then, whether her phone would ring anyway, even after they didn’t answer.  I wonder how someone could cause her to call so late and smoke so nervously.

I would go to bed now, but I think I need a smoke.

Red Stripe

(Originally created 11.21.06)

I don’t believe I have a “best” friend, but I know I have some pretty damn good ones.  Maybe not so much in the sense of knowing they will always be there to pick me up when I fall, but more in the idea that, as long as they’re around, I won’t fall in the first place.

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t put a whole lot of faith/expectations in people.  I consider myself a strong and independent person, and when I do need answers, I usually turn to faith.  But I think there is something to be said about friendship and the incredible enrichment quality people can bring to your soul.

My friends are all so amazing and the best part is that they are so different and bring ink to this entry in their own unique way.  I have a friend who doesn’t talk much, but in the few words that are spoken, we’ve caught up in everything that’s been going on in each other’s life.  I have a friend who is so incredibly intelligent, but doesn’t know it (and another one who does).  One friend is so guarded on the outside, but in a 15-minute conversation becomes the most thoughtful spirit I’ve ever encountered.  I even have a friend who doesn’t know we’re friends yet; friends who have ambitions and dreams that remind me to never give up on mine; and, friends who keep me grounded in the realities that surround me.

What is most fascinating to me is how all these people change my life without knowing it.  I don’t believe I need that one best friend that I can turn to for anything.  I simply need to appreciate each person for his/her individuality.

To my friends, I want you to know how much I appreciate you.

I am, admittedly, quite a strange mind, but to those who are in my life, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter.  My friends surely have discussed me in good and bad light, but I also know they’ve all defended me against those who don’t know me.

As a disclaimer to all of this, and perhaps to reconcile this with any of my previous musings, I am not disillusioned into believing that the names of my friends won’t change over time.  But I think that fact makes this thought that much more compelling.  When we place pressure on our friends to stay the same, never to lose contact, or act in accordance with our standards, we’re missing the point and we are not really friends at all.  I think I’ll always have those friends that I’ll know until I pass, but I also know that the substance of even those relationships will change.  I love that my friends are crazy, or scared, or old, or in love, or restless, or in need of reading these words if only to know that someone appreciates them at this moment.

Friends are a good thing.  Hooray Friends!