(Reed’s Playlist for the occasion: Joker and the Thief by Wolfmother)
Craig! Craig, wake up! I have marbles!
Hello, there, old friend.
It’s been a while since we’ve talked – I know we haven’t kept in touch too much over the last few years, but somehow, that doesn’t stop our friendship from continuing to grow. It’s strange, feeling like adults, isn’t it? After we were kids far longer than we had a right to be.
I owe so much to you. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have learned that religion can produce some of the best people in this world. I honestly might have become an atheist.
You taught me manners in a way my family never did – I’m sure I’ve lost them over time, but I can still pull some out when I’m trying not to make a complete ass of myself in public.
Oh, and you helped me make a complete ass of myself in public. Of all the people I knew in middle and high school, there were so few willing to tolerate my weirdness, fewer who would accept it, and only two or three who would engage in it with me. You taught me that it’s okay to be strange, and that sometimes being strange can bring the best people in life closer to you.
You taught me the prayer Catholics say before they eat. To this day, I still remember from so many dinners at your family’s house.
You taught me what it means to have a dog, and how the bond between a boy and his pet can be so much more than with anyone else. I think my love of animals started with Emmi. RIP.
You taught me how to be a better person without ever trying to push it on me. You taught me tolerance and understanding, acceptance of different lifestyles. You taught me to not try to worry about my sexuality or my identity – that those things fall into place eventually.
You taught me that it doesn’t matter if the person saying the microaggression believes in microaggressions – it only matters if the person hearing it does.
You’ve given me more inside jokes than I can count, and I’ve spilled more tears with you from laughing than from sadness.
You’ve taught me how much I can love a friend, fiercely, more than I ever would have thought possible.
When I introduce you to people, I tell them completely seriously that you’re one of the best people I know. And I have never meant anything less than that. You’re the good Samaritan in every sense of the word, to your detriment sometimes. And yet you’ll continue to be that person for the rest of your life, because you don’t know how to be less than that. If there’s a Heaven, and I like to believe there is, I know without a doubt you’ll get in.
Don’t you ever forget how much I love you. Don’t you ever forget how good an impression a person like you makes on this world. It’s hard, and it’s bullshit, how much you have to put up with. But please keep being you – there just aren’t enough people like you in the world, and the few of you are like beacons in the darkness.
Thank you for teaching me so much.
Yours, from eight years old until the end of our lives,