The first call came moments after I let my small group of friends know what was going on with me. “Hey—are you okay?” The pause and uncertainty behind the ask told me that she was concerned.
“Yes,” I said with a sigh. “I’m not sad. I’m just disappointed.”
After 23 years of memories and conversations, I decided to end a very one-sided friendship. It was a relationship fractured with seeds of ignorance that I, unfortunately, let grow and take hold—a mirage of trust with no understanding. I asked for years for only one person, in particular, to show up, educate themselves, and do the work, and when I was reminded of my pleas for help last week, I was, again, met with nothing.
Friends from all walks of life reached out in support. They tirelessly talked to their friends and family about the issues thrust back into the media today. They all stood up for what was right on the correct side of history and ensured that I was safe and protected. The friendship that I ended—I realized that my friend wasn’t able to do that.
Nearly a decade ago a group of my friends and I decided to take a trip to Oregon. We would go and solve the mystery of our lifetime, up to that point, and enjoy the trip in the process. However, due to a number of complications, the trip to Oregon became an impossible thing, and over the course of the planning, we had lost friends and lovers along the way.
My best friend and I eventually made it there together after a long road trip from Southern California and kept blogging about the journey along the way. I didn’t fully know it then, but the trip that came on the precipice of a new beginning for our futures would change both of our lives forever.
It’s only natural that now, three years after the trip, the first car that my best friend ever bought would have Oregon license plates. I have seen it as a reminder of the trip and what we have taken away from it. There’s no doubt in my mind that we have grown and closer and wiser since then, and I’m sure the reminder is to keep progressing as both individuals and as friends of more than twenty years.
As we approach the final months before my friend’s wedding and the series of projects that I am hoping to tackle around that time as well, I can only think back to the trip as encouragement to do my best, leave my comfort zone, and continue moving forward.
It was once an obsession, a drive, and a journey both physically and mentally. It became a story that spanned many blog posts and a memory that I never want to forget. For some reason, the state of Oregon was a white whale that in time just became a shared state of mind between two people. It became a place that my best friend and I would share forever, and I’m okay with that.
The last five days before my best friend and I started new full-time jobs, and receiving talks about promotions, were the days we used to travel up and then back down along America’s west coast. We took to the highways, side roads, and freeways like a drop of water takes shape in a rushing stream. It was as if we forgot the world where we both had to go to our jobs, water our plants, and take out the trash, and lived, for a moment, as traveling gypsies hugging the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
We never used to be able to fully explain how the idea for a road trip to Oregon came about. When asked by a new friend why we would want to travel there, all we could muster at the moment was, “because it’s just there,” even though we knew it wasn’t quite true.
The sound of knocking came from behind my best friend’s front door about an hour after we had come home from her birthday party. Her two dogs both ran to the door while eagerly wagging their tails and letting their mouths hang open in a way that mimicked an excited-looking smile, which let my friend and I know that there was a friend on the other side of the tall old decorative wooden ent
rance. I swiftly got up to place myself in front of my friend’s larger dog so I could open the door, but the short-haired copper-colored hound mix beat me to the front as I reached for the door’s elegant handle.
“Copper! Get down!” I tried pulling back the large dog as much as I could without harming him. “No!”
I opened the black screen door that revealed a young tall blonde man with a nice dark-colored plaid shirt tucked into a pair of thick denim jeans. He wore clean black work boots that many of the countrymen wore around the small town and gently raised his hand out from the warm summer country night air and into the slightly cooler home to pet the enthusiastic dog.