On Friday December 16th, 2005 I met my best friend.
I had just finished the 1st semester of my sophomore year of college ... it was a massive relief that Christmas break had finally arrived and I was really looking forward to a late night party with some friends who also wanted to celebrate being done with finals. No beer. Just Scattergories.
When I showed up to the party, I noticed all the familiar faces. Except one. A new kid. I didn't know him. Why was he here?! I bet it was because everyone was caught up with his rapier whit, winning charm, kind demeanor, edgy style, and devilish good looks. Blah.
Needless to say I was a bit off put by this new freshman who was obviously on an express train to BMoC Station.
While playing Scattergories, a game I have no taste for, a spat broke out among the ranks. "THAT'S NOT A WORD!" "THERE IS NO WAY YOU CAN USE THAT AS AN ADJECTIVE!!" etc. Everyone was all up in arms about who had used what words and how. I realized in that moment ... there is only one (other) sane mind in this whole place. The new kid.
As the night went on, I had some great opportunities to get to know Nathan better. We talked mainly about our favorite music and local coffee shops. And just like that, I had met my best friend. And it's not even like it started there and then grew into a friendship over time. No. I met and made my best friend all in one night. I went home for Christmas break the next morning and told my mom that I met my best friend. I even bought him a Christmas present.
When we got back to school in January, Nathan and I picked right back up where we left off. As best friends.
While at home over break Nathan and his high school girlfriend broke up. I think he got dumped actually. Ouch. Needless to say he was in a rough way. So we walked and talked. A lot. We walked back and forth from class, to the grocery store and all around campus. All the while, processing what had happened and praying about what was to come. Like best friends do. I think Nathan needed me.
In a very real way I was still reeling from the shipwreck of my freshman year. Being at school came very easy to me, at least in most of the social categories. I didn't have trouble fitting in. I didn't fight with my roommates or even struggle with missing home like lots of new college students do. I struggled with balance. And schedules. And over committing. I felt like my life was a spinning merry-go-round. Moving just fast enough that I was going to get hurt if I tried to jump back on — or certainly was going to get thrown off again if I happened to successfully re-secure a seat. I needed Nathan.
We needed each other. And that was 10 years ago. While in New York a few weeks ago Nathan and I spent a day bopping around the city. We rode the ferry, ate great pizza on Staten Island, and then holed up at a bar for an hour toasting to a decade of being brothers. After that we went back to his great little apartment in Queens and watched the office with his awesome wife Steph. Just like the old days.
Having Nathan as a brother is one of the best parts of my life. I mean, he's garbage in comparison to my wife and kids but other than that he is incredible. Having a best friend like him is not something I take for granted or take lightly. His friendship is a gift that I cherish and will always try to steward well.
With great certainty I know that Nathan will be in my life until the day I die. Or the day he dies I guess. Let's be real. He lives in NY now. It's probably going to be him first. I heard the yellow cars don't stop.
In honor of our meeting 10 years ago: Nathan the nostalgic is naturally nurturing. Even while not near, in New York, Nathan nudges and nags me on to never nullify the needs of the neglected. There is also never a needless noun with nowhere to nest with him. No one knows me nearly like my neat Nate. Naturally I can't neglect that Nathan never needs his neighbors to neutralize their need to make noise. Nathan is nice and I love him.