Let me tell you about friendship.
To become friends, there’s a sort of accidental or incidental bonding. Like tying a shoelace and knotting it. You know what I mean, don’t you? You’ve experienced it. And then the friendship takes shape and it’s so unique. And it grows and changes with time. It doesn’t matter if you met at a party, or at work, or at a sports club. It always happens this way. And these changes I refer to. These changes... I point to them only as I would point to an ocean, for oceans are never still. Friendships move like the waves that head toward an idyllic beach. Even if nobody’s awake to watch them crash, the waves still move just as our friendships do too.
So let’s visit this place. The high seas. That place of change and flux.
On the high seas, you sail. And a friendship is the vessel which you take to go on this voyage. A boat which you captain together, you lovely pair of humans. Your emotions are in its hold. Your journey is long. You’ll sail this ship for years together. Sometimes it sinks and the adventure ends. Other times, you make port and add to your crew of merriment. Over time, you’ll feel that precious relationship grow, even though it may well be that the pair of you should exist alone on your vessel. Above topaz seas, the sky is clear and neither of you chase what lies beyond. You have each other, so you’re happy with who you are and what you have.
During rough nights, the seas angry and the waves white, you have each other still. Arguments don’t last. Like the ocean, calm follows a storm. You love each other. Trust me when I tell you that the best friendships are unaffected by the worst storms.
At day’s end, you dive into the big blue and watch the Turtles swim circles beneath your watery shadows. Friendships are built from these fine types of memories. Holidays together. Days out. Is a perfect evening aboard your “friendship ship” not a just example of such delights? When you clamber back aboard, you towel your hair and drink a beer, eyes merry. You sit side-by-side to watch the sun turn gold and the world’s shadow come across the deck. You smile with the stars in that gentle universe. Is this more than platonic love? You question. But you don’t know, so you keep sailing.
You know each other very well, but you don’t know everything about each other. Just like you don’t pretend to know the oceans, you navigate them anyway. You tell each other that the secrets of your heart shall always remain. It’s rare to hear another share their own. If they do, it’s your job to listen and navigate them. One day on your vessel, you decide to share these secrets. To your starboard side is a small island with yellow sand and violet seaweed. You cast your anchor and swim ashore. Maybe this is love, you think, sharing your secrets to one other, the isle peaceful and the world yours. It doesn’t matter what sex the pair of you are. It is a sort of love. Significant and precious, not all of us find it.
When you do find it, you must sail it into perfect friendship. That is a delight I would wish for us all. But mostly, I wish it for you.
Taking my own ropes now, I pull my sails tight. I hope this yacht will take me somewhere toward that finest delight. But what of it? If I cannot find it? The secrets of my heart shall remain, upon an infinite ocean of seven seas from which I cannot gain. I wash my deck alone. I sleep beneath cloudless skies, making port in every place, meeting new people, I tell no lies. That story I told you — the one above — is all true you know. I have friends like it. In a way, if you really think about it, don’t we all? A lifetime spent at sea together, wondering where to go before we fall.
~ Samuel Hodges, July 2021, London