Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Last of His Kind

I've never been the type of person with a bevy of friends and you'll almost never see me out with a group. But when I do find a person whose qualities speak to me for whatever reason, I tend to stay friends for years. More than one guy friend has told me that I clearly prefer to make the rules in the relationship, but usually that's a result of them trying to stretch the bounds of friendship at some point.

An old friend came into town to spend the evening with me tonight; we enjoyed many hours of conversation about almost everything. It's the first time he's visited me since I moved to this apartment last year and the reason for that is simple. He got a diagnosis last year that required life-changing surgery and he's still nowhere close to back to normal, although at least mobile now.

Because his future is so uncertain, his perspective on absolutely everything has changed. Like me, he's never been a man of many friends, but at this point he is deeply appreciative of those he has, especially the long-time ones, of which I am one.

So tonight he wanted to share his feelings... about what's happened to him, the prognosis and especially about his feelings for our friendship and what it has meant to him in the past and especially now. As I sat here listening to his words, I finally understood how much our friendship had meant to him but also how much he had hoped that it would become something else, which I had never allowed it to become.

After he left a little while ago, I sat on my back porch finally acknowledging the inevitable: I won't have him in my life for much longer. I can't regret not having been able to offer such a good friend all of me, but on some level, I regret that it took so long for him to speak to me about this. I wish we'd gotten all this out of the way before he was staring his own mortality in the face.

Years ago, he asked me if I knew what my best feature was and naturally I assumed it was my lags. "No, ma'am," he told me, "it's your ass." I cracked up when he said that because no one had ever suggested such a thing to me before. But then he got serious and said, "What really makes you special is how you make other people feel. I always feel like a million bucks after I spend time with you." It's still one of my all-time favorite compliments.

My friend always refered to himself as a 19th century man born in the 20th century and signed the myriad letters and e-mails he has sent me over the past two decades with, "The last of my kind," or TLOMK.

And while I wasn't meant to be his everything, I feel lucky to have been his something. For however much time our friendship lasts, I hope I can always leave him feeling better than before he saw me.

Even more that that, I hope he will remember me as the best friend he could have wanted.


  1. How lovely.
    I will think about this all day.

    you are a good friend... to all of us.

  2. I am so sorry about your friend. You have always had that affect on men (inadvertently) where they want to be more than friends and you probably have had that affect on some women, too.
    To those of us who have known you for any length of time, you are the consummate friend, confidante and support system. You make people feel special, just by being with them.
    If your friend had told you his true feelings years ago, I fear your special relationship would not have been the same as it is now. I am sure, with his soul searching, he would rather have had the relationship that he has had with you, than none at all. You are so important to so many, and for us, a true blessing. Love you