I’ve never been a wildly social person. My whole life, I have valued a small handful of close friends and shunned making more than an acquaintance of anyone outside that small circle.
Some people think I’m a standoffish sort of bitch for that. Whatever.
I was thinking about friends today because I called my oldest friend, whom we shall call Mrs. Azzah. I don’t recall exactly how old I was when I met her, but it was around my early teens. I thought she was pretty weird at first. She pronounced certain words in odd ways and thought the Delta Center was a place where airplanes were made. I was such a little jerk and figured we wouldn’t be friends. She was too weird.
Math brought us together. Rather, the fact that neither one of us was particularly good at math brought us together in the form of tutoring sessions from an insanely brilliant guy who was a few years older than us and probably was mystified as to how to get either of us to stop talking about the boys long enough to understand the equations that came as naturally as breathing to him. We would sit at my kitchen table and enumerate our crushes’ good qualities to each other and laugh at some of the more unlikely prospects each had entertained.
Then we drifted apart for several years and she came back into my life during an interesting period in her own. It’s not my story to tell and it’s not important. What is important is that we bonded again, this time over things less definable than math. And this time, we stayed close.
Certain things helped that. We both got engaged the same night and showed each other our rings at a mutual friend’s wedding soon after. We both married in early June, her wedding a full year before mine. We both moved to Missouri. And I, at least, depended on her during the years we both lived there, though she was 100 miles away.
Her husband is the reason I started playing WoW. And we all get along famously, no matter what we’re doing. It’s a great friendship.
It’s been affected by distance a little. She moved away from Missouri several months before I did and I haven’t seen her for about a year now. But I called her today to plot for Operation New Years! and we picked up as though we had never left off.
I asked how she was and she told me of a situation that she is dealing with in regards to another friend of hers. It’s not pretty. And when she finished, she said she felt that something must be wrong with her because of this friend and a few other people who had been complete bitches in ending their friendship with her.
“I’m the common denominator,” she said.
“No,” I told her. “The common denominator is that people are assholes.”
And if you knew Mrs. Azzah, you would agree. She is so effervescent and charming and delightful. She listens so well and gives such good advice. She makes you feel like your life is the most important thing in the world to her.
She’s my oldest and dearest friend, I realized. No one else from that long ago has remained even half so close.
Just talking to her made me feel saner, like I could handle all the crazy shit real life is throwing my way. Friends are awesome like that, picking you up when you are down and reminding you of who you are and what you’re capable of when you are lost in a thicket of despair.
So if you have a friend like my Mrs. Azzah, take a moment to think about them and what they do for you. Tell them you love them. Go visit. Call. A friend like that is more precious than diamonds and they deserve to hear it.