The Treat’s on my Mind

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Separation.

Damn. The Treat is on my mind tonight.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

It’s well after midnight and we’ve just wrapped up an- other Gathering, complete with food, good friends, and lots of talk of spirituality and quantum physics. It’s been a fun and interesting night, and yet, when it’s over, I feel a twinge of regret that The Treat was not among us tonight. He would have enjoyed it, and I had plenty of lasagna left over.

The Treat is the nickname I gave a really special friend of mine over a year ago, simply because he was always such a treat for me to talk to. We became friends around the time our divorces  finalized  within  days  of  each  other,  and  there  was  a sweetness to our friendship that I have not felt with anyone else.

Beyond how  much  we  had  in  common—the  similar mindset, the music, the sense of humor, the art, the spiritual curiosity, political and social opinions, the raw honesty, the sexual frankness,  the  uniqueness—I  think  our  connection  was  so strong because our experiences mirrored  each other’s. We understood how shattered emotionally the other was, and neither of us would ever have done anything to hurt the other. Ever.

There was an inherent trust in each other based on a strong  mutual respect, admiration, and genuine fondness. And also in the understanding that we’d both screwed up a number of times in our  lives—including since we met—and were still there  for  each  other  in  some  difficult  and  heart-wrenching times.

I told him secrets I have never told another soul, not even my  best friend. Dark secrets and dirty little secrets that most people would  have condemned me for. He didn’t judge me. He was simply my friend and offered me emotional support when I needed it, and I for him. He saw the part of me that had been hidden, saw that part better than I saw myself, and saw me as the whole person I’m so much closer to being a year later. He saw me for me, and liked me for me. I never had to explain my- self though I very often did, out of habit and thinking I needed to.

We’ve seen each other at, I believe, our very worst and still…still cared. And for that, he will always be a treasured per- son in my life, even if I never see or hear from him again.

But then, that’s what friendship is all about. Real friendship.

Caring about the other person and that their best interests are served, whether we like what those best interests do for us or not. I hated—hated—to see him leave, but I knew it was best for him, in many  ways. I could not and would not have done anything to hold him here.  How could I? I understood how badly he’d been bruised and how much  he needed to be free and independent and at the same time, nurtured. In many ways, we experienced our friendship not as romance but as an exercise in compassion for each other.

I hope that, somewhere out there, he understands that compassion is still at play. I don’t care how much he’s fucked up since he left, in the past year, or before I ever met him. None of that matters to me. It really doesn’t. And how often do you get absolution without begging for it?

I don’t care that he’s not perfect or that he doesn’t have himself as together as he thinks I think he should be. No matter what’s happened or what he’s done or how long since he’s been able to stay in touch. If he thinks he’s disappointed me or angered me by vanishing off the face of the planet, all is forgiven, and all is understood. None of that matters.

What matters  is  that  I  miss  my  friend—the  way  we talked in the middle of the night, the way we compared notes on how we were dealing with starting over, the way we made each other laugh, the way we were gentle with each other when one of us was hurting.

I miss the Treat. Because how often does a friendship like that come along?