Sometimes, you have a friend who’s always got your back, even if you don’t hear from them for a while, or see them too often. I have a few of that variety (you know who you are), and it’s so good, isn’t it? Knowing that at any time, someone out there understands you, would sympathize or laugh with you, and genuinely likes you.
One of that stellar brand of friend was Brian, my closest friend from Holy Cross who died without warning last year. He became such an impressive person in his adult life; when he and I first met, we were 18, dopey college students and instant friends. And we stayed friends; we went to each other’s weddings, visited each other in our early 20s. Our daughters were born the same week, and our sons just months apart. I was so proud when he went into the Coast Guard and wrote to him often when he was deployed. He got such a kick out of my career. In fact, in the last email he sent me, he asked when my books would be made into a movie, because he thought they were really good.
Yesterday, I had dinner with his widow, who became my friend during the course of their marriage (I knew she was The One the second I met her), and their son, who reminded me so much of Brian that it did my heart good. We talked about him, and the loss of a dad at a young age, and The Walking Dead and all that good stuff. And we talked about little signs after someone has died; those little odd things that turn up unexpectedly, or finding something just when you need to.
And a funny thing happened when we left the restaurant. I wasn’t sure which car in crowded the parking lot was mine, because it was a rental. I clicked my unlock button, and the taillights blinked, and my friend said, “Oh, look! We parked right next to you!”
I like to think it was a little sign from Brian, a smile and wink from my old buddy, saying he was glad his son and wife and friend were able to see each other.
Miss you, big guy.