Best Friends

‘Best Friend’ has been a title that I have given to a lot of people but it has seldom been reciprocated. I was very surprised when my best friend from high school back in Colombia actually called me his best friend. We have kept in contact and our paths actually crossed again back in 1998 after not seeing each other for five years. He is actually a successful singer, musician, record producer and electrical engineer back in Colombia. He actually taught me how to play the couple of chords I know how to play on the guitar. He recently started blogging and posted a 50 things about him, and I am proud that he actually mentioned me as his “mejor amigo” during high school.

I remember a lot of people that have affected my life as best friends. In one way or another they have shaped who I am with their friendship and even though some of them have not ended in the most positive of terms, I have learned from all of the relationships. My first memory of having a best friend comes from grade school. I spent 5 years with the same group of kids and my best friend was Edgar. He lived around the corner from me and was a very kind, mild mannered kid. I will always remember how gentle and friendly he was to everyone and have always wanted to reconnect with him. I do know that he got married and has a couple of kids, but not sure what he became professionally.

Around the neighborhood I had two friends that I will never forget. One was Jose Luis aka (Pocho). He was an excellent athlete and soccer player. He made me a better soccer player and taught me a lot about being street smart. I remember a lot of playing soccer and playing dominos with him and a group of friends. Pocho went on to become a doctor and I am really not sure where he lives now but I do know that he actually moved to Ecuador to go to school. The second one was Jacqueline who was the daughter of one of my Mom’s best friends and the niece of my uncle’s wife. We grew up together because our families were close but we developed our own friendship to the point that she knew more about me than any other friend. She was someone I felt I could talk to about anything and there would be no judgment. One sad thing about remembering her is that she is not with us anymore. She passed away 2 years after I moved to the United States. I visited her grave when I went to Colombia and I will always remember her.

During high school I had a group of friends that through the years became a protection clique. I was always the small one and they all took care of me in one way or another. The school that we went to was very divided into different social groups and we had tons of fun with each other. We came up with our own made up words, our own practices and just overall craziness. Julian aka (NitoXXX) was part of that group along with Javier, Diego, and Andres. Julian inspired this post, Javier is now a doctor and I believe he is now in the UK, Diego is a Psychologist working with the people displaced by the war all over Colombia and I believe Andres is a teacher still in our city.

After moving to the US I did a couple of years in High School and graduated after 4 senior years. It is a complicated thing that I will someday explain in a post. While at High School in the US I made one best friend, Luis aka (Chino) he helped me survive a very tough High School without any major incidents. I also became a part of his family during those years by being over there all the time eating tasty Puerto Rican meals that his Mom made. After Chino moved away from his parents I have not heard much from him. I have seen him over the years but at times it seems like I have seen his parents more than I have seen him after High School.

College was a blast and I met some of the people that I wanted to keep in contact with for the rest of my life. It just so happens that after college you lose touch with most of your friends. Something that I should have learned after grammar school and High School, but I partially blamed it on just moving away from Colombia. I met some great people there, some I don’t talk to anymore by choice (mine or theirs depending on various situations) and some are the people that I will have stand up for me at my wedding. Travis and Eric are two of the brightest people I have the pleasure to interact with in my life. Travis is a web developer working for a firm down in southern IL, and Eric works for a big telecom company writing software (even thought he is a hardware guru) and installing equipment to deliver digital content. I still keep on contact with them in a regular basis, but we have not seen each other as much as we would like to because of geographical distances.

7 comments on “Best Friends

  1. Back when I lived in El Salvador I knew one person whom I can really consider to have been my best friend. After I made the decision of returning to New York, I brought his contact number along with me. But then 1 month became 2 months and up to this point I know nothing of him. That’s why now, I don’t take for granted the people with whom I’m close with.

  2. Crap, seriously, I think I’m going to cry. This was such a touching post, definately, one of my faves in 2006.

  3. wow best friends… I have a lot of good friends, but defenitly my best best best friend is my wife… I share everything with her, I love talking and talking with her… she is not just my lover.. she is my confient and the person that I look for when I need an advice!!!

  4. Que bueno saber esto, como lo leiste en mi blog, hay muchas personas a las que he considerado como mis amigos pero ellos no. Esta semana precisamente encontre un cassette de Beta (“Colombia territorio Beta”) donde vos y yo habiamos hecho un trabajo acerca de la drogadiccion, me parece que fue en decimo. Despues hay un monton de guevonadas hechas por puro desocupe. Me rei demasiado viendo eso. Me toco hacer el “transfer” a VHS. Me gustaria enviarte una copia pero no tengo forma de digitalizarlo. Yo soy una persona que a pesar del tiempo conserva los afectos, sin importar cuanto tiempo haya dejado de hablar o ver a alguien.

  5. You know, when I talk about best friends it always seems to break down the same way as you described. I’ve known my best friend Dan for over 18 years. Though sometimes, it’s not always about time. I met you, John, through our mutual friend Jamie. And even though we might not know where he is, you will always be my brother.

    I can probably count my best friends on just my one hand. When I think about it, I don’t have many close friends. I wasn’t very social in my youth anyway. Not that we’re old… But for certain, they are Dan, Eric, and you John. I just know I could tell you guys anything and would do anything for you. You’re certainly the only ones I talk to on a regular basis. I actually married my other best friend from DeVry with you guys. It’s amazing the kind of fun relationship I have with Melissa still to this day. There are always the ups and downs of marriage, but the basis of our relationship is always strong.

    I think the most satisfying thing about friends is that you don’t always expect it to happen. Sometimes it surprises you. Hell John, you know me… there shouldn’t be any logical reason for me to even acknowledge you. But surprisingly enough, we accepted each other. There’s probably no single reason as to how we even became friends. You were just one more damn John I had to remember. Thus why you are now Paco to me, you fucking spic. But dammit man, I love you to death and you know it. I mean, in that sense, Eric and me hit it off like wildfire. Shit, we were both racist, wreckless, against the system, and had big egos (among other things.) We got ourselves kicked out of DeVRY and laugh at every memory from it. Hell I was just talking about the apartment last night with Dan. Melissa’s friendship was just a shock as well. God knows my first impression of her was lackluster at best. I was pretty much forced into knowing her by Jamie and Dave Stoll. Funny how time works and people grow on you. I always regret going to DeVRY. I know if I had to do it over again that I would still do it. I have to. I wouldn’t have you all if I didn’t. And yet sometimes still I wonder…

    The shocker to you all is that my single best friend is Christy Abel. I worked with her for about 5 years at Global in Champaign. I did a lot of learning, growing up, experiencing life, and socializing during those years moreso than any other time of my life. Of any of those that had an impact on me, she has probably had the most. And all indirectly. You could say that she’s not exactly the kind of girl you’d expect me to be interested in. And my initial impressions of her and other’s impressions of her influenced my opinion of her in a negative way. She’s a smoker who tans and highlights her hair. I pegged her at about 10 years older than she was. Marked her as a stuck up prissy girl that you couldn’t trust. Some other people in the office would talk behind her back like she was better than anybody else. I went along with the crowd. Why should I care? I had better collegues there anyway, so I thought.

    She wasn’t at all what I was told. Christy is the kind of person that thoughtfully puts other’s needs before hers. In fact, her only flaw is that she does it at the expense of her own happiness sometimes. My only regret is that it took me too long to realize that she is the most wonderful person I have ever known. I lied to Christy once when a conflict arose between me and another co-worker. In that defining moment, I realized that some things are more important than your own pride. I swore to her to be completely honest and up front, no matter what. And I have lived up to that promise. And in those years a bond grew that I have never experienced before in my life. I would stop and nothing to make her happy. But that’s not her style. She’s never looking for somebody to look after her. And though I can’t expect you to understand, she taught me what love really means. Then I think… and I’ve never even held her hand. Ha.

    Friendship and love are tough to explain. I know that you are all my friends and I know that I love each and every one of you. I don’t know why I decided to come here and write this. I just know that I am a better person because of my friends. I am nothing without you guys.

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