I suspect perhaps, as hinted above, that when we got a few days on the other side of my mother's operation ... I felt more as if I could do anything else than lock myself away in our apartment and just have some coffee and draw a bit. Which was what I originally planned. That and calling in ill with MRN, our host. A little white lie, but what the hey - I could call him, as I also mused some posts ago, and we could talk about everything important in one phone call. I could do that another day.
But perhaps it was not so much about me, but about MRN and his need to escape the world for a moment, doing this event for us - with games and coffee and beer and chit-chat. And it would have been less worth to him if we had not all been there. Sure, some of the 'old guys' could not come, but considering how close a friend I am, he would probably have taken something - if not a lot - from the occasion if I had called in sick. For MRN.
I'd like to believe that is true - that it was important for him I was there, a part of the whole. Even if it was just being there, and even if we did not get to talk much.
It was the gathering of old friends itself that was important, and that was a gathering that should not be watered down too much - with too many absentees. Also, it was MRN's need to escape with a bit of fun and games and company of that sort.
Not to talk about serious matters in fact. He even hinted that much when he thanked us for coming.
So ... a good thing to realize here, about my own place in the overall scheme of things. At least for this occasion. For another occasion my place - and role - might be different.
And this was what my friend needed, and I wanted to help my friend. When I considered not coming I thought about my own needs first, and - yes - they were indeed real some days ago, when I felt exhausted. But when some of that exhaustion lifted I could see this for what it was - and for what it meant to MRN.
And then the decision to go was very easy.
If I had chronically ill parents I would pray and recommend others doing so. MRN might need something else, at least in the short term. Maybe for the rest of the term.
But what is it? Is it something I can help with?
For the sake of our friendship I will let this question linger much and return to it, and pray for an answer. That way I can use my belief to help him, even if he does not believe in it or can benefit from a similar point-of-view.
It is hard to tell the truth to a friend, if the friend does not like the truth. It carries great risk. But it is worth searching for a way to do it, without ego or judgement. Then the truth can come through to that friend and he can see your love, literally. You are not out to hurt him. You are there to help.
I will tell him what I think when it is the right time, if I think something I can tell him is the best.
That could even be, however awkwardly, to tell him to admit that he has lost his footing and pull the plug in some way and go to a summer house on a distant coast to find the energy again.
But I don't think it will come to that. Because for all my doubts I know him well enough to be able to think of better advice and action, like suggesting that we go both to that summer house to discuss the plot of a new role-playing game. Purely recreational, of course. Nothing to do with his actual need to go there.
I never expected JN to be so communicative as myself, esp. on social matters, emotional matters.
And yet today he just did, in a very personal way, in a very trusting way. He may have done it in his usual dry, somewhat professorial manner, without overt display of emotion. But that doesn't masque what was underneath, and what kind of trust it took for him to confide this matter to us - about himself.
And that is what matters. Not the diagnosis. In fact, I'd say the diagnosis that supposedly describes 'why' he is socially introvert or whatever just gave an opening for us to have a closer and deeper friendship.
Speaking from experience, back when I still thought we could conceive normally, I can tell you that it quickly destroys your sex life - and peace of mind - trying to have sex by the clock each month to have a child. Maybe you can do it less ... strained. But as time wears on and if you feel you are already 'behind' ... well, that's just not going to end good.
So my friends, MRN and L, made, as far as I can tell (I have never asked directly), a measured choice: Live their lives and see what happens, even if chances diminish the more time passes. Even if 3 months pass and they don't have sex at the right dates, I suppose. Or a year. Or ...
I'm pretty sure that's the deal they have come up with, no matter how hard that choice was.
So I see the uncertainty in their eyes when they see Jay, hold him, smile at him: "What's going to happen for us? Did we make the right choice?"
I did see that today. No surprise, but still ...
For I was afraid, I'd not see happiness - for us. Deep and honest happiness.
But I did see that.
I was afraid I would see too much doubt, when their own pain clouded things too much, and it would hurt me - and Char - too, even if understandable.
But I saw nothing like that.
I saw a glimmer of sadness and of that pain, later when we walked home and talked about a extra room they are building in their house and what it might be used for. Guests or ...
But I never saw their honest sadness at their own situation overshadow their happiness for our situation. Not once.
I may be imagining things, but I really felt it energized them to see Jay - gave them some of that undefinable happiness, too, that babies tend shine into the hearts of people, even if they are not your own.
I really felt that. I hope that it was so.
Which means, I guess, that the most precious thing is still more than intact - our friendship.
Just a few hours talking about the world and everything reminded me of why friendships give you just that extra quality in life that doesn't need anything but itself.
The experience of the quality of friendship is its value. It is not an instrument for something else.
More often than not, I fear, we tend to forget that - perhaps in more than just the relation of friendship.
Fuck the role. Admit that you don't have any good role to play in this situation, but that it is okay.
That is difficult. Extremely difficult. But it's something I want more of. And I want to be with more people who want more of it.