“You’re going to be an adult much longer than you will a kid…so enjoy this time.” I have said this to Cydney and nephew on numerous occasions. Typically it is after one of them laments that adults get to do whatever they want and I shoot that one down right away. However, if I had to opt between being a kid again or being thirty years old, I would almost always choose the latter.
Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. The way our brain allows us to look back at some fairly fucked up things as the good ol’ days that defined us is amazing. The times we had no one to play with in recess was how we developed our imagination. Not fitting in with the cooler kids in middle school was what made us embrace our individualism. That first heartbreak in high school that was the end of the world saved us because we see what said person looks like on social media and they look very washed up…and so on.
This past weekend, one of my closest friends from college got married. Almost the entire weekend, I was looking at the present and the future (his and mine individually). My friend was as well; but we were doing so very differently. He was acknowledging the people he considered loved ones who have known him forever as we sent him off to his forever. At one point or another, everyone he talked to he lead off with a brief anecdote of the role that they have played in his life (“This is my homeboy I’ve know since ___! We used to ____!”). He was giving what will come next in his life context because ultimately, he wouldn’t be standing there without the support of all of these people.
Once the ceremony was over and there was nothing left to do but pack and head back to New York from Dallas I was the first time I had begun to look back at our friendship. I met Chase-Julian during New Student Orientation in college. I was conversing with my parents after the goodbye ceremony while they were buying t-shirts. My father had said something about me setting up my studio in my dorm room and this guy with shades on at night (As a New Yorker, this was the most absurd thing I had ever seen in life at the time) said “You got a studio? I rap.” We didn’t exchange info that day. A few days later, I saw him again and the same thing happened. The third time, we walked and talked in the rain to Taco Bell, came back to my room, recorded a song, and have been friends ever since.
On the surface, Chase and I have very little in common; but that’s part of what made our friendship last all of these years. Sure there have been hiccups. Nonetheless, tried and true, he has been one of my most unwavering loyal friends. When he lived in DC and knew I needed to get out of town, I would pack Cydney up and we would sleep on his couch. If I was going out to philander, he’d lend me his BMW and watch my daughter. One time, he watched Cyd while he was incredibly ill. In fact, on his couch is where I transitioned from just writing about Cydney on my blog to telling my story…Looking back, that was the moment blogging ended and my career as a writer began.
June 2013 was the last time that I visited the DMV area. That last trip was very different. I wasn’t dealing with any women. There were no streets to run. This wasn’t an escape from New York, either. We had both just met women who would change our lives. On one of my last days in town, I came back to his apartment and there was a pretty little light skinned girl on his couch named Benita. If I’m correct, she had scrubs on. Chase had mentioned her a few times prior and there she was. She barely said a word.
Through conversations on the phone I heard how their relationship progressed. Benita evolved from “You remember the girl that was on the couch,” to “I’m moving to Atlanta for a job and we’re doing the long distance thing,” to “I helped her buy a car,” to “We’re moving to Philadelphia,” to a picture of the two of them smiling while she wore an engagement ring. I was watching my friend who has always been a little goofy grow up and I was enjoying the process.
Growing up is dope as fuck because while you’re advising your friends from the sidelines, they’re doing the same for you. When Chase and I met, I was the skinny kid with cornrows that wore baggy clothes who would lose his shit if he put on one of my $35 fitted caps. He’s seen me go through phases that we’ll both look back and think “What in the fuck were you wearing? What the fuck were you thinking with her?” and so on.
After every weeding that I have been a groomsman for, there is a moment after the bride and groom ride off and it’s just us. Briefly, we run down all of the other girlfriends and situationships like “Remember _____?!” It’s as if that moment is a goodbye to all of the ones who didn’t “fit” and weren’t supposed to work out, because we’re glad that we’re there for the reason we are. We’re saying “It’s been great watching the groom grow up.” My only request is that whenever I get married, PLEASE record that conversation so that I can laugh, too.