My best friend is a Viking.
I call him my Viking because he’s definitely of Norse descent and his temperament is somewhat blustery and gruff, on the outside anyway.
On the inside?
This is a man who has been seen driving down the highway with a cat sitting on his shoulder. He also spoils said cat with little dollops of yogurt or cream or tuna or some other delectable substance of the day. He feeds the deer and the wild turkeys, and the fact that we actually own and care for a rescue goldfish by name of Survivorman is also all his doing.
I love these things about him. But there is more.
He reads my books. All of them. Sometimes in successive drafts. And he not only reads, he gives me detailed, honest feedback. Misused words, typos, inconsistencies, plot points that don’t work, discontinuity, character problems, errors in logic. And he delivers the message whether I want to hear it or not. This, dear people, is the definition of true friendship.
He also knows me better than I know myself.
Yesterday I drove my youngest son off to college. He’s not going to be that far away and he’ll be home a fair bit, I expect. Logically it all made perfect sense. He hasn’t been home much this summer anyway and between his evening shift job and my day job, we seldom saw each other. How different can it really be? I asked myself. I planned on a relatively unemotional trip – just there and back again with a minimum of fuss. Which is funny, when you think about it.
Heartstrings have no logic, and I of all people should know this.
My Viking knew. When I dragged myself into the house at the end of the day, tear streaked, wind blown, and totally depleted, he was ready and waiting. A hug with the perfect amount of sympathy – not too little, not too much. Steaks ready to go on the grill. A wine glass chilling in the freezer and a nice bottle of red to pour into it. We talked about ordinary things. Watched some TV. Argued over who would climb out of bed to let the dog out. By the time I fell asleep I was comforted.
Although my Viking is my best friend, there are others who have been there for me through difficult times. Some of us don’t talk on a regular basis, but when a crisis or a need pops up – there they are, solid and true and awesome.
This year, being part of the Deb Ball, I made four new friends. We are all highly different people and maybe if we’d met socially somewhere we would have just been polite to each other and then drifted away. But we’ve been through a lot together this year – much more than just publishing our first books. There has been tragedy and joy amongst us, and those are the sorts of things that bond people together. Even if we don’t talk much in the years to come, that tug on the heartstrings will always be there for me.
Only a couple of weeks left to go before we dissolve the official Deb Ball bond and the new Debs take over.
My wish for the Deb Class of 2014 is that the five of you will find this same level of friendship and support.