Sat on their park bench
– Simon and Garfunkel
Cristina and I have been dear friends for over 30 years. She is my ‘baby sister’ (she’s 20 years younger than I am) and I utterly adore her.
It has never been a romance. I toyed with the idea at one point but was mature enough to realize that moves in that direction stood a chance of screwing up the valuable ‘thing’ that we had. And what was that ‘thing’? True friendship; something that sex, as wonderful as it is, can mess up because it brings in complications.
Our initial encounter was weird enough. We met on a flight from Honolulu to Vancouver. My wife of the day had dozed off and Cris was sitting next to me in the third seat. On a six hour flight you can get to know a person quite well. She was a lot younger and very pretty, of Portuguese extraction and very charming and it turned out that she and I had gone to the same junior high, albeit two decades apart. She had just turned 21 and I was in my early 40s.
Long story short, we just really hit it off. And after we returned home we kept in touch, as one did in those days, via snail-mail and telephone. I would call her from work since I didn’t want to arouse suspicion at home.
And so it went over many years. I have mentioned that when I married Wendy I asked Cris to be my ‘best person’ and when she married (and her husband is a prince of a guy) I made the toast to the bride. In between and during a time I was ‘between marriages, as was she) she came and stayed with me. It was lovely and it was all about friendship.
She did not like my 2nd marriage and she saw things in my new spouse that I didn’t. She was pretty perceptive about that.
And finally, and the test of a friendship, she possibly saved my life one time. I was at the tail-end of my abuse of alcohol. I phoned her, not sure why at this point. But, I guess I was pissed at the time. Somewhere in the conversation I guess I passed out. Cris was in a panic. She called 911, since she was in Vancouver and I was in Comox. The police went to my apartment. I was expedited to emergency and St. Joe’s worked their magic and unbeknownst to me at the time, Cris’s intervention possibly saved me.
Now that is friendship and what it truly means.