I recently heard on a cartoon that teen love never lasts. The passion, commitment and even obsession we are able to feel when we are between 13 and 18 years old eventually wears off as we grow old into grumpy, hurt and paranoid adults. I am fortunate to say that is not my case.
I met this classmate when I was 15. We happened to be together in the first year of high school. He was handsome, sportive, intelligent and cultivated and he managed to become popular almost at once, while I was naïve, overweight, nerdy and nothing more than a wall-paper flower at most. Of course, I fell for the guy immediately. For months, I fought to catch his attention, unsuccessfully, of course, and only managing to embarrass myself each time in front of him and the whole class at the same time.
After a while, he became boyfriend with my best friend. Well, that wasn’t an easy-to-take blow, but I survived through it because I was truly in love with this guy, and by that I don’t mean this obsession about “getting the guy”. It was mainly because I had been able to evolve from the teenage infatuation into a real interest for the person itself. I remembered (and still do) the words from a former junior-high teacher, may God bless him forever, who had told me that you stopped being in love with love when you managed to still love a person even after finding out about his defects. Now that was something that put things into a more realistic perspective, and indeed helped me not to lose my head completely. I was lucky enough to become some sort of ‘best friend’ to him, and get to observe all his defects closely. I found out about his arrogance, his insecurity, his boasting and his family problems. And still I knew I liked him.
For seven years (seven years! Can you believe that?) I clinged on the hope that we eventually would end up together. And finally I succeeded. We spent 3 weeks as an official couple before realizing we were loaded with a heavy burden of past events and too many different points of view on life to carry on. We broke up,obvously, without tears nor regrets, but promising to be friends forever.
And so it has been for the last 10 years. Although our sentimental relationships are all settled, we still get to see each other and find that special person we are able to share everything with. Things that we don’t tell our significant others are easily discussed among us. Any sort of problem can be analyzed and solved, while receiving the most neutral, loving and objective support one may wish for. Not even a professional counselor could provide such variety of angles from which take a view into situations. And,the most important, we never, ever, get to judge each other. Whatever mess the other gets into, we refrain from pronouncing a final judgment on the person, which is something not even the family is able to do, and you know what I mean. Even our closest relatives can’t refrain themselves from uttering such horrible phrases such as “Oh, how could you be so stupid?”, “For God’s sake, couldn’t you foresee this was coming?”, “Well, when you screw it, you always do it big time, don’t you?”, or, even worse, help you out with this humiliating look of pity and hidden superiority in their eyes.
But that has never happened between my friend and I. We have reached that rare level of relation where two adults get to understand a person’s individual decisions. We know that sometimes our best friends are there to see us take some stupid leaps, and fall flat on our faces, and throw a blanket on the pavement before we scratch it with our teeth; friends are there to share their time when they have to work early next morning, their money at the end of the fortnight, their food when they only have one piece of bread, their cars when they have a tight agenda, and their support when there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. And so we have done.
After so many years (come on; who’s been able to keep a friendship for 17 years?), I do keep a special place in my heart for this guy. And that doesn’t mean I am a cheater. I have been living happily with my significant other for two years, after dating for seven (a total record, ain’t it?), and he is about to settle down with his girlfriend after a three-year romance, which makes me really happy, after knowing how much trouble he used to have to maintain a serious relationship. It means that, in this world of loners, we have been blessed with a friendship that goes beyond brotherhood, a bond even thicker than blood itself. A friendship that is willing to commit from the moneybag to the blood, and a kind of love most people never find, not even among their relatives.