Thursday, December 08, 2005

my friend Joe

I live for those who love me,
for those who know me true.
George Linnaeus Banks
So the other day I was remembering a very good friend of mine from the days I lived in Columbus, Ohio. Yes, I lived in Ohio. Hard to believe. Most people ask me when I mention it "why did you do that?" My first response is the most honest...I did it because I was in love BUT that story is for another time. Anyway, while living in overcast Ohio, I met a guy named Joe who ended up being in several classes with me. I enjoyed his company even though he was anti-Clinton, a smoker and on the rebound from a four year relationship with a girl that left him for another guy. We connected. I was the optimist and he was the pessimist. We hardly agreed on any level but somehow we formed a friendship that made attending Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, not so bad after all. It was the first time I lived in the snow or anywhere that you couldn't get to the beach in less than an hour. I had an apartment downtown with a view of the public library parking garage. Joe and I would grab coffee and a snack at a little coffee house two blocks from campus between classes. He was always talking about his family...Lots of brothers and sisters all raised Catholic. His parents were great and still married after so many years. He would talk about his ideas of what he would do after he graduated. Of course, I talked to him for several years after leaving Ohio and he was still in school...Something about the University not counting his credits or classes. He was a bartender, a server, a construction worker, a "joe" of all trades. I returned to Ohio for other reasons a few times after I moved back to Florida and we'd always get together. One night, I was distraught so Joe and I went out downtown. There was confusion with the ATM, then I had to pay but not to worry because he was always there for me whether it was a good or bad day...We both were. On the phone a couple years later, he and I talked of going to Vegas together. He even made me hang up and bought me a ticket. As the week of the trip drew near, Joe had to cancel. We never went to Vegas. I don't know where Joe is today. Everything I've sent has come back and the number is no longer in service. I miss Joe because our friendship was based on a mutual respect and being okay with who we were as individuals and as friends. There were no expectations, no rights or wrongs, just two people who had a connection that in hindsight was such a breath of fresh air...even in non-sunshine Columbus, Ohio.

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