BJ, Beej, BeJota, Bobby John… all different ways of calling a well-loved, longtime friend. We met in 1980 (at the same time I met my best friend Jim). For the next couple of years, he was one of my closest friends. No, more than that… he was my little broie. And as such, the only one of my friends with a key to my house. The freedom to come and go… “mi casa es tu casa” (my home is your home). Easy-going, happy-go-lucky, he was known to all as a really nice guy. After he left Ecuador we kept in touch sporadically… less and less as the years went by.
This, however, is a friendship where I knew in time we’d have the chance to touch base again. And so it has. For the last two weeks BJ has been back to Ecuador, on a visit with his girlfriend Marie. I wondered initially if we would even recognize each other – it’s been about 27 years. In response to that query, he responded: “I look just like I used to, only 28 years older, less hair, not much wiser, slightly richer, and with achy joints.”
I’d have to disagree about him not being much wiser (I guess as young as he was, he was pretty wise back then, too), and I didn’t notice the achy joints. What I did notice was how easy it was to pick up where we left off, how naturaly sharing with Beej continues to be.
Yesterday was our last day together. We went out for a sushi lunch so BJ could see Jared and also to celebrate my daughter-in-law (and Jared’s partner) Karina’s 26th birthday.
Here’s the birthday girl:
And BJ and my lovely daughter Jamie. (Sorry, Beej. I know one should never take photographs of people at mealtimes. Chewing does not bring out the best in people’s faces!)
BJ and girlfriend Marie… I must have been emotional to keep taking shaky, blurry photos… But what you can see in the photo are the dimples that hint at that contagious laughter.
That was yesterday. Early this morning I drove BJ and Marie to the airport. We parted with an emotional goodbye – no need for many promises about keeping in touch. We know we’ll be seeing each other again, and that we’ll not let that much time come between us again.
The day is cold and grey. It seems appropriate. Because it calls me to quiet activity and introspection. I spend the morning cleaning and oiling a sewing machine left by one daughter-in-law to be given to another one. As I work quietly my thoughts go to the friend I have just said good-bye to. I realize this time together, this friendship is a gift. It is quite rare to feel in tune with other people, and I wonder what it is about BJ that makes him so special and easy to be with. And then I realize it is because he is one of those rare people: an absolutely kind soul. Still fun-loving, with a great sense of humor, and oh, so considerate. I am lucky to have such a friend.
It begins to rain. And that’s quite ok. I’m not sad, but it seems that parting from a friend should take place on such a day. It’s still not time to turn to other things. Rather, I need to give time to this farewell, celebrating what we have shared, storing those memories in my heart.
I’ve finished cleaning the machine. Ready now to deliver. It’s been a quiet yet restful morning. A good day altogether.