It could be romantic, but it doesn’t have to be. It is also friendship, and it appears in all ages, with all different kinds of people. It’s that feeling of total comfort, familiarity and intrigue with a complete stranger. It’s the person you’ve just met, but whom you feel you’ve known your entire life. You just want to be near them.
That’s how it was for me when I met my friend Sandro at a party in 2000. I remember that night; how the air felt, being outside in the cold, feeling lit up by this new person I’d just met. I even remember what I was wearing: a cream colored sweater, dark jeans and red high heels. We hit it off instantly, and he has been a special part of my life (minus a couple year hiatus – nothing’s perfect) ever since.
We’ve been to each other’s weddings, he’s watched my son grow and we’ve supported each other all along the way. We watched each other start our own businesses, I’ve admired his art, he’s admired my writing and we’ve had some inside jokes that have lasted a good ten years.
And in two days, he and his amazing husband are moving away.
I love what Rumi says:
“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere, they are in each other all along.”
I think that this also applies to friends, confidants, muses and even strangers we see on the street. It’s recognizing yourself in someone else, or them in you, beyond what anything in your brain can understand. It’s not what they say, or what they do, it’s something you feel in your heart.
It has been a long road for Sandro and Alon to finally make the move from Los Angeles to Europe, and all the way, I’ve hoped and prayed that somehow, in the end, they’d end up right here in L.A. Because I’m going to miss meeting them for lunch, or cooking them breakfast, or eating dinner at their house or sitting between them on the couch watching Ali G, or having amazing conversations about the meaning of life and what we were each put here on earth to do.
Today it was farewell. I stopped at the farmers’ market to pick up some garden roses for them to enjoy the last couple of days before their departure. I told Sandro that I wanted him to think of me when he sees roses in Barcelona, and I’d do the same here in my own garden. Flowers always offer such gentle metaphors; reminders that the cycles and chapters of life are natural, normal and healthy.
And yet we resist.
I realized something important this morning as I made the long drive from Santa Monica to Los Feliz to say goodbye. It came to me that underneath my sadness for their departure, is a resistance to the temporal nature of all of life; the cycles, the letting go, the fearlessness to bring something new in. And I realized that their move is a very real, very can’t-be-denied opportunity to accept that while love may be eternal, our physical time here on earth definitely is not. Whether we move, break up with someone, or eventually die – all things in a physical form will ultimately come to an end, or at the very least, a new form.
Which brings me back to this whole eternity thing, and just how mind-blowingly beautiful it all is. Because I do believe that there is a part of our heart and soul that is eternal, and that it shows up in different people, at different times, in different ways. Weather Sandro moves across the world in two days, or lives here in Los Angeles until he’s 100 and keels over, at some point, I will have to say goodbye.
Nothing is forever, nothing. At some point, for one reason or another, all people and all things will either leave you, or you will leave them. This is natural. It’s the way the rose buds and blooms and eventually goes back to the earth. When Sandro said “this isn’t goodbye, it’s the start of a new chapter” I realized how I’ve been grasping onto this one rose, unwilling to let it go, forgetting that there is an entire new garden between us, waiting to bloom and evolve, if only I’d stop digging up the seeds.
Farewell sweet friend, see you in the roses…..
“A Different Kind of Life”
I could pause time
And remember you like that:
Leather chair and a green jacket
Just before midnight.
And not think
Of the meals we’ll miss,
Problems we won’t solve together
Or inside jokes
That will never be born in your absence.
Your departure is not amusing..
You will always live in my heart,
You seem to have
In the knot in my throat
And tears that slip by
Against my will
As I look busy
For a different kind of life.
I want to be strong
And embrace where you are headed
Though my arms are empty,
Are not in them.