I had a best friend midway through primary school who was raised a notch above the rest in my estimation. Simply, I suppose because this friend was a boy. The first boy that told me he loved me and we agreed we might get married one day after I'd travelled the world and on the condition that he got a motorbike when he was older, his dad had a bike he said so it was not too much of a request. (We were 8 and 9) He wrote me a love letter which I still keep in my jewellery box. Then we decided a day later, we shouldn't be 'boyfriend/girlfriend' because I had so many books to write and I didn't have the time, so we were friends instead. I used to call him Bugs, because we both liked bugs bunny at the time.
We used to get our red school jumpers mixed up all the time and exchange back and forth after school. He taught me how to climb up onto my shed roof, which we did many times sharing childhood conversations I cant remember. He was asthmatic and allergic to my cats, he wasn't supposed to come in my house because his eyes would go red and itchy, but he did anyway.
When we got to high school he was the first to know who I had a crush on that week, and I would weigh up the good and bad points with him of his various girlfriends. When I met the Keyholder aged 13, 'Bug's' who was starting to grow out of the nickname, was the first to know and we stayed such good friends to start with. He went out with a girl I made my new best friend, did I have ulterior motives for being friends with this girl, perhaps, but we all bundled along well enough
We got to college, and friendship groups changed and turned over, relationships ended and re-started, but I'd still go and watch him play video games sometimes, and he came to mine to watch movies.
We got old enough to sit in the pub and every time I ventured 'up town' into the club street of Birmingham centre, with the 'goosepack' of friends I was in, I remember the security of staying by his side, and he'd hold my hand while moving around to make sure I didn't get lost in a crowd. By now the nickname of Bugs had died and I called him Tommy.
So yeah, time went by, and somewhere along the lines he changed from my childhood mate to one of the lads, and in that transition he became more interested in being the Keyholder's friend than mine, which I guess is perfectly reasonable, no lad wants a girl as his wingman, that just doesn't work. When the Keyholder and I broke apart, my Tommy turned up first, he did the swearing and the 'I cant believe this!' and he hugged me and gave me a little of that early support I needed, he was the one that came to tell me the news of 'the new one' which broke me up more than anything had so far but I held it together in the car, held on tight and didn't shed a single tear. Then I suppose it was one way or another, I needed to stand on my own feet and I had a group of friends separate from the goosepack, and they gathered around me like a fortress. I could admit I should have tried a little more to hold onto that one friend I'd had for so long, the others disappeared like steam from a kettle, and to be honest I didn't mind as the months went on and I turned into a different person, but I should have forced it more with Tom.
I'm surprised I haven't written about this before because I do miss Tom, and I suppose I'm only thinking about it now because it was his birthday and I always remember that one date, but in my current situation I refuse to let it happen again, I won't lose another best friend. I've said this statement before "when a friend goes down a different path you can either leave them and march on or turn around, grab them and say wrong way bitch, dragging them back onto your road"...well in this case I will be holding on like a cobra, I'll ram my friendship down my current best male friends throat and force him to accept it. I'm not going anywhere. I don't want to miss another dude who's no longer a part of my life. I will learn from my past and try harder this time around.