Sunday, August 03, 2008

Unspoken Words

I seldom re-read books.

And by seldom, I mean I've only done it four times. It. The Stand (abridged and unabridged). I Am Legend, and Sleepers, by Lorenzo Carcaterra.

That last one is one I just finished re-reading today and even if you've seen the movie by the same name, I urge... no, I demand... that you read it.

I came across the paperback of Sleepers by accident years ago. It was before my children were born. Before I got married. I was three years into being self-employed and living in my first apartment with my soon-to-be wife.

I saw Sleepers on a rack at a local pharmacy and read the blurb on the back. It hooked me and after I got home and cracked the spine, that was it. I disappeared. It was a Sunday afternoon and I simply vanished until the early hours of Monday morning.

Never had I read a story about a group of friends that close. A group of friends that would do anything for each other, whatever that meant. Loyalty without bounds. At all costs. Friendship beyond blood.

It struck a nerve with me because I live by the same ties that bind. The friends that I have - those that have made their way beyond my self-made stone walls - are ones that I'd do anything for. Their happiness - whatever that means - means everything to me. There's trust there. Love. And so many things unspoken.

After reading it again, thirteen years later, I saw it in a different light, but the same resonance came away with me. That beautiful overwhelming friendship that exists so rarely in this world that when you find it, you have to hang onto it at all costs because it's a true gift.

The simple fact is that life is full of a lot of bullshit. Oh, it all balances out for the most part. There's laughter and happiness to be sure. But there's also mourning and grief. Pain and loss. Betrayal and heartbreak. And we're there for each other, thick and thin.

It's sort of cliché and overused, but John Lennon said that "Life is what happens when you're making other plans." So very true. Just when you think you've got things figured out, along comes a strong wind and knocks over your carefully built house of cards. You can go it alone if you want. Experience the rollercoaster of emotions that go along with it all. But with a core group of friends you don't need to. They can help you share the burden. They're the ones that will sit and listen and nod at the right spots, offer comfort and solace and maybe a few words of advice.

They're the ones that will weep at your sadness and celebrate your victories with the same gusto because they're there for you no matter what.

They're the ones that will look at your expression and know without you having to say a word. The ones that will be willing to give you a hug or a smile, not saying a word because it's unnecessary; they already know.

And sometimes, the things that go unspoken are the truest words of all.


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