I have known my friend Joe since college. That is a long damn time. He
is my oldest friend. That sounds so nice, my oldest friend. I met Joe at
Southampton LIU where we were both studying Marine Biology. Joe is from Queens
and had a penchant for dressing in black. His hair was long, curly and unruly.
He was the first vegetarian I ever met. I was from suburban Long Island where
everyone was white and listened to bad 80s rock, think Def Leppard and Rush.
Joe was unlike anyone that I had ever met. That made him kind of scary. He
lived in my dorm and we ended up in many classes together. Despite our blatant
differences we became fast friends.
We have had a long and complicated history. A history that has involved
late night subway rides, drunken dancing, love and loss, and lots and lots of
drinking (our poor livers.) Somehow, Joe has ended up living approximately a
quarter of a mile from my Mom. If I walk up the road that my Mom’s house is on,
Joe’s house is about four houses down on the main road. In the past, when we
have come to visit NY for a couple of weeks, we all stay at Joe’s house. His
house is larger so it is just more practical. Being in NY for six months, with
the goal to spend more time with my Mom, living at Joe’s house just seemed
wrong. I turned down this offer despite the fact that Joe would have cleared
out his small office so that my son would have his own bedroom.
I love my Mom. I do, really, but she is very set in her ways. She has
her schedule and the things that she does and nothing interferes with that. Not
even my son and I moving in from Hawaii for six months. Her inability to waver
sometimes makes things very difficult. Sometimes I just need to get away.
Sometimes I need to borrow a car with no strings attached. Sometimes I just
want to sit in front of a TV and make snarky comments (think Project Runway).
Sometimes I don’t want to drink wine out of a humungous bottle that cost $11.
Sometimes I don’t want to be quiet after 8:30 p.m. Sometimes I just want to be.
It would not be too off the mark to say that if weren’t for Joe and the oasis
that is his house, I am unsure that I would still be in New York. And I say
that because I get all those things and more at Joe’s place. I didn’t even
mention the fact that he drives my sorry ass to work, he picks up my son from
the bus, he also takes him on outings on weekends when my Mom is doing dog
stuff & I am working, he lets me drink his exceedingly delicious local wine
(as much as I want!) and sometimes I get to take the Audi out for a spin (it
makes me feel like a grown up.) It is difficult to thank someone for going
above and beyond. It is difficult to thank someone for saving your sanity. How
do you do that? What is appropriate? I am relatively certain that there are not
enough thanks in the world for my friend Joe.
When I think about leaving and going to back to Hawaii, there is a lot
of sadness wrapped up in the obvious happiness we are feeling. And a lot of
that sadness has to do with having to leave Joe behind. I love the revival of
our friendship over this time. The revival that doesn’t get the same
opportunity when we are only visiting two weeks in the summer. The months have
breathed new life into it and it is big and colorful and vibrant. This has
gotten me through and made everything easier, better and more fun. It is the part
that makes me want to stay. The part that makes me think that I could live
here. I hope that he knows how much we love him and how much I appreciate everything
he has done for us. While it’s true what they say, that you can’t go home; I
would counter by saying that you can go home but only if you have a Joe.