When I was in college, then graduate school, Marty was a big part of my life. With a group of our friends, we hung out, we partied, we laughed. Man, did we laugh. Here’s the thing: Marty was the funniest person I had ever met.
For a time, I believed that I loved Marty because he was so funny. And truly, I’ve always had a soft spot for people who make me laugh (doesn’t everyone?).
As life goes, Marty and I parted ways a couple of decades ago. Why is important to my life story, but not really to this post. Let’s just say that there came a day when the laughter had a hollow ring to it, and that made me too sad to keep in touch.
Fast forward, to March 2010. I was a Facebook newbie, and I noticed that Marty was listed as a friend to my friend Carol (one of those from the old crowd of hanging out and laughing). I sent him a friend request, with a message. The heading of the message was, “WTF?” Marty wrote back, telling me that wasn’t a very appropriate greeting after approximately 25 years. Thus began the renewal of our friendship.
One night early last summer, my phone rang. Caller ID displayed a number I didn’t recognize, but I answered anyway. The very second the caller spoke, I knew to whom I was speaking – Marty. Still funny, still able to tell a story.
Last weekend, I went to Chicago, and met up with Marty. And I discovered something about my friendship with him — I LOVE this man. And not because he is funny, though that is a genuine gift. Marty and I have a story, and that story includes all the plot elements that make for a good read: love, laughter, tears, betrayal, coming of age. It is a story that, now, we can look at in its entirety and see that it has a happy ending: true friends reunited.
To borrow Marty’s word for it, our relationship years ago was “tender”. Our friendship today is too, if the goofy smiles, somber gazes, and affectionate pats are any measure. Funny thing, love. Sometimes, it just sits around, waiting for our hearts to notice it!
(Marty will probably hate this photo – I love that I caught him in a rare
moment of seriousness…)