(I figured my best friend would get a kick out of me calling him “greatness”. You only get one, SS. You only get one.)
Ten years ago today, I was moving into my very first apartment with my then-glimmer of hope boyfriend (the term “fiancé” could be used loosely). It was a studio near UCR, and it was amazing and perfect because it was ours. That night a girl knocked on our door and introduced herself and her boyfriend and told us they were our next door neighbors. They were only a year older than us, and she was really cool and smart so I thought hey! A new friend! The two guys waxed poetically about video games, so it seemed a perfect fit for all of us.
A month or so later we were invited by them to go to Friday’s for some drinks and food with a group of her friends. All I remember about the night was wow. Just wow. I understand that her and her friends were in University, but they seemed so pretentious and were drinking specialty cocktails (AT FRIDAYS!) and talking about things that I honestly just couldn’t grasp. Maybe this girl wasn’t the right fit for me, after all.
Yeah, pretty much the dialogue that night.
One night a bit later my guy neighbor knocked on my door looking for my bf. I told him he was at work but would be home really soon. He went to leave, but I made him stay, and we started talking.
The rest, they say, is history.
After that SS and I became the buddies. So much so that, after a while, it was no longer double dates-it was me and him (shortly after the Friday’s incident he and his girlfriend had broken up anyway). My own boyfriend was hurt that SS chose my company over his, but I knew the real reason-SS thought bf was a total dud. And as much as it may sound like he had an agenda, he didn’t. SS was so blunt it shocked me. Not in a dick way (okay, wait-in a totally dick way-he’s an arrogant asshole that you seriously need to know to love), but in a way so painfully honest I had never come across before. He was against me marrying bf because we were “running on love and not reality”. I thought he was crazy and jaded. Instead of pointing out things I should have seen as completely obvious, he would ask questions to get ME to think about the answer instead of just giving it to me.
In other words: he helped me dodge a GIANT bullet. After bf and I split in early 2004 he ended up going to jail three times and is now addicted to opiates and living on his grandmother’s couch.
SS was the first person to buy me a “legal” drink on my 21st birthday-as you can see I was pretty shitfaced…
Once bf and I split, SS and I were inseparable. The entire year before bf and I broke up, I was jobless and in bed from stress and depression. As soon as I moved on from bf, it was like my eyes had opened and a weight had lifted. I had applied for a job in cosmetics and gotten it. A few months later there was a position open for a counter manager at Nordstrom's-my DREAM JOB at the time-and if it wasn’t for him I would have never applied.
I didn’t think I had enough experience and I also thought that my paltry job experience (Hollywood video, a bowling alley, Thrifty) wasn’t going to be good enough for a prestigious place like Nordstrom’s. I knew in my heart I could do it, but I didn’t have the courage to try. SS used his trademark logic on me (essentially the “you’ll never know unless you try” and “what would be the harm in trying?”, but more pointed), and I called and asked about the position. The department manager liked my enthusiasm so much over the phone she scheduled an interview-and I was offered the job! On top of THAT, when I went to resign from the job I currently had, they offered ME the counter manager position and MATCHED was Nordstrom was going to pay me!
They say kissing trolls is good luck! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA :)
The thing is, SS was the only person I have ever met in my entire life that told it like it was. I had always had people who would say “yes!” when you asked them “does this dress make my ass look fat?”. The first year of his brand of honesty was hell. I would cry and throw tantrums, and he would just stare at me like “really?” Once I realized that my prima donna shit was not going to fly around him, I discovered something that I never had before: self-awareness.
I realized not everything was everyone else’s fault. I realized that there was more to life than Brangelina and make-up. I started developing well-rounded thoughts and opinions instead of just listening to conversations. The more I became aware of my strengths and limitations, the more I was able to achieve. I moved out on my own in a foreign city. I pushed for promotions at work. I cared about the outside world and what was going on inside it.
He taught me how to fish and kickbox and play MMO’s. We went to dinner all the time and always had something to talk about. He introduced me to his best friend and I gained someone else that I have nothing but pure love for: The Owl.
And if you were wondering, yes, we briefly dated. It lasted two months and it was a disaster. We are so much better off friends. Although I can tell you that even though we have had our share of ups and downs in these ten years, there is one thing I still want to kick his ass for-missing my wedding.
After I started dating J, SS and I stopped talking. As much as he will NEVER admit this, I think it was a mixture of jealousy and that I was making the wrong decision because J was essentially a stranger on another continent. This was one-sided, as I had no intention of letting him out of my life. And I made it clear every time I called him to shoot the shit that I would continue to call him like a crazy stalker bitch until he realized the error of his ways and we were BFF’s again. It was pretty much EXACTLY like this when we spoke (he’s Will Ferrell in this situation, obviously):
After SS realized J and I were a done deal, all became right with the world again. SS thinks J’s a swell guy, and J tries to understand all of our private jokes and arguments when we all hung out together. SS is still one of my biggest supporters. He’s the one that pushes me to go to therapy and STICK WITH IT. He’s the one that looks into new and exciting treatments. He’s the one that keeps me on my toes when it comes to food and the abuse of it. Ours is a funny, demented and awesome relationship, and one I will always be grateful for and treasure.
Thank you SS for fighting the good fight alongside me for ten years and never giving up on me. I love you to pieces, friend <3