We were best friends for a while. He trained me at my old job. We clicked instantly. He was a writer, too. An LA native with screenwriting aspirations. We spent afternoons at the coffee shop together, typing away on twin iMacs. We read each other’s work. My novel(s) in progress, his script(s), critiquing one another and rooting each other on. Then one day I got a boyfriend. And he got a girlfriend and all at once we stopped seeing each other regularly. It’s the sad reality that (straight) friends of the opposite sex can’t really be best friends anymore, not when there are significant others in the mix. It wasn’t the first time I lost a best friend to a girlfriend. It wasn’t the first time I stopped being a best friend when I had a boyfriend. It’s just kind of what happens.
We talked once in a while, running into each other on occasion, usually accidentally as two old friends often do. We had lunch just after Archer was born and then kept tabs on each other over the past couple of years. I got married and then he did. Then last year, around the same time, we sold our first manuscripts. We called each other to offer congratulations. My friend had just met and subsequently teamed up with his comedic hero... It was like if Henry Miller had been alive and asked me to partner up on a project. Or Anais Nin… I was thrilled for him. In awe.
Today as I was writing at Insomnia, my old friend walked into the coffee shop. He looked the same as last time we’d ran into one another, except older, more confident. We hugged. He was with his new partner who he introduced to me casually.
“Nice to meet you, Ricky,” I said and then, “I’ll leave you guys alone. Just wanted to say hi.”
I went to sit down at my table, our backs to one another. I tried to write but I couldn’t. My hands were shaking. I don’t know if it was the nostalgic sadness of seeing him again after so long, or the excitement of seeing him with his new partner (a little of both I’m sure) but I was suddenly so overcome with emotion I had to step outside.
Some say success happens overnight. But it isn’t true. Success is what happens when people work hard, all day and through the night and keep going. My friend didn’t have overnight success. I know this because I was around the years he was working, pushing himself, reading and learning and working odd-jobs to afford to write; long before he became one half of the project that will surely make him a star.
I just hope he knows that even though so much has changed, I’m still behind him (as I was quite literally today) still seated at the corner table of the café we used to meet for all-nighters years ago.
Paths cross in life and then pull away in different directions, but somehow, it seems they always come back together, overlapping if only for a moment, a reminder that friends can inspire one another even after they lose touch.
Today I most definitely feel inspired. Thank you, Matty.