I'm fairly positive everyone reading this has experienced this at one time or another: your heart beats faster in sheer anticipation of seeing them, you can't remember a time where you were together and you weren't smiling, you talk/think about them often…I could go on but you already have a face in your mind don't you? However, I'm also fairly sure we're not talking about the same thing. I mean, generally we are but specifically we aren't. Generally we're talking about love. Specifically, you're thinking about your current soulmate and I'm talking about my very first best friend who, yes, I loved very dearly. But not like that. Tristan was my best friend, my brother that lived across the street. About, oh say…94% of our childhoods were spent in each others yards/houses/cars/company, we were constantly together and it was the absolute best.
See, when you're six and find someone who is willing to sing duets with you in your basement using red markers as microphones you don't read into it. You don't start worrying about those icky feeling-things, you unintentionally live in the moment and don't worry about tomorrow. This was what I knew about Tristan: his older brother Julian was drop-dead gorgeous in that punk-rock way only your best friends' older brother can be, his dad's name was Mark and he had a tire swing in the backyard that was perfect before noon during the summer, and his imagination could keep up with even my wildest fantasies. I still have vivid memories of walking to the neighborhood pool with my Polish au pair Ola, who loved him just as much as I did, or playing Pirate-Captain-Falls-In-Love-With-Ordinary-Maid on my tiny trampoline that was the perfect size for us, or swinging and sliding on my red cedar wood playground that smelled so fresh and earth-y. I can even perfectly picture the inside of his house, the always-messy (hey it was a house of 3 boys) kitchen was to your left as you walked in, the stairs to your immediate right. His room was the first on the right and always had those plastic knights and army men littered across the floor; Julian's was next door to that and I still remember the time we both burst in on him and ended up napping in his room, all three of us (picture it, two six-year-olds and a 13 year old that I was totally infatuated). Mark's was down the hall on the left next to the boys' shared bathroom. Freaky right?
"She said, I was seven and you were nine, I looked at you like the stars that shined, In the sky, the pretty lights"
Tristan always pops up in my memory at the strangest times, such as when I find an old photograph of the two of us on a random Saturday, or when I think about Ola and Alejandra (my two au pairs), or when I recall the time we lived in that white-washed house with the herb garden in front and drove around in a red, sparkly Nissan that once had a bee in it that sung me when I opened the door. I found him on Facebook once, after spending only about an hour stalking his family, but he never responded to my friend request. That meanie. He probably just didn't remember me or doesn't use Facebook ever. (I'm hoping it's the latter so I can save face, to remember all this about the two of us and he doesn't recall me at all would hurt my pride and perpetually-high self-importance meter) The reason I'm spending a whole post waxing on and on about my old best friend? I was listening to "Mary's Song" by Taylor Swift and realized how closely (the beginning anyway) the song reflects the experience I had growing up.
And, if you know me, you know this led to more probing of my mind and I came to the realization that the most unlikely person can shape your life in ways you never even thought about. I am the person I am, partly because of Mom and Dad and Grandma yadda yadda yadda….but also because of Tristan and all my other friends that have helped make me who I am. Had I not befriended Tristan and spent a good three years (at least) exploring the realms of imagination with him, I probably wouldn't look in the mirror and feel slightly okay about myself (most of the time), would plug my nose anytime I'm around fresh mulch like the rest of the female population, and probably wouldn't be as boy crazy as I am. I definitely wouldn't look at life the same way I do now, I know that.
If you are going to take one thing away from this long post all about myself, it's this: don't forget or regret the people in your past because they helped to make you the person you are today. Who do you reckon are the people that shaped you the most?