My first real best friend who made an impact as my memory serves would be Clark Kent. He was older but only by a few years, so he was also essentially my baby sitter, but he was truly so much more, for a short time he was definitely family and if life didn't go the way it did as life tends to he might still be a major part of mine. We wrote plays together, went to Orlando together, he had dinner and hung out overnight even when my parents came home. I have fond memories of our time, but the age difference was five years and as we grew older that just became a bit strained as he moved on to more adult things while I was still growing. We've bumped into each other a few times in adulthood but it just didn't stick.
My next bestie was Adam K. and that was quite a shaky friendship to say the least. We were very bad together. Smoking, shoplifting, all that bad stuff. He also stole two of my girlfriends and we got in a fist fight and I once planned to murder him. Yet somehow in the end we actually stuck it out even as we were in different schools. When I transferred to City-As-School in my late teens, Arthur followed. Not at my request or anything, just following my lead. He was at least a year or so behind me in school from being left back though so once I graduated, I'd see him in the neighborhood but we just drifted apart. During the time of Arthur I was also friends with Marty Perez, a next door neighbor who I'd known since elementary school. We also had been through our share of fist fights. Marty was a weird kid. I'm talking weird. He was a peeping tom, his girlfriend when he was a teen was a girl with down syndrome who he took advantage of. It's complicated. He was not my best friend, but he was the friend I ended up spending a lot of time with. There were a lot of other friends and time was spent with them such as Ronald, Clifton, Kwame, and plenty others, but in terms of building bricks there we are.
Then there was Jefferson Caulder. Between around 16-19 he was my go to friend. He was one year older or maybe it was two. He took me to bars, strip clubs, told me crazy stories. We went to lots of movies. Had some crazy late nights. He actually helped me grow as a person, but simply in a way that once I was out of his shadow and was able to alpha dog a situation he pulled out of the friendship. Nick was there for this experience. Nick had replaced Jefferson during the time that friendship fell apart. Nick being part of it is a cement to what we are to each other.
Nick and I met freshmen year of college. The first day actually. We didn't become serious friends till sophomore year though. Years later though he told me he knew from day one at some point me and him would be boys. He just sensed it, not that at the time he understood it. At the time Nick wasn't ready to be my friend. He was shy, aloof and hadn't experienced life the way I had. He hadn't done drugs, he'd never kissed a girl, he hadn't really traveled or had crazy experiences. He was just an intelligent man who knew he wanted more from the world. For the record, I had done all the things he hadn't. Maybe not as much as many others. I wasn't cool but I was collected. I had hung out with famous people since I was a youth. I had taken an entire year off between high school and college in which I worked on film sets and took college courses for fun which guided me to the college I chose to matriculate in.
When I started at college the only friend I had truly was Jefferson. That would change quickly. The entire college would become my friend and I definitely had a crew I hung out with. Josh, Stu, Doug, Ben, Amy, Molly, etc. etc. We were all theater folk and would have parties, go to bars, get wasted, get stoned, make songs, it was seriously good times and I was friends with these folks for all four years. I stayed in touch with some of them for awhile as well. New folks would drift in too Nate, Nina, David, Daria, and a slew of them I have a connection with still. Not friendship but in the broadest sense of that word in our modern era where everyone you know even if you see them once a year is your friend. Some of them very successful as well. Noted musicians, playwrights, children's authors and more.
In all this though Nick walked in directly. It started when me and my friend Matt planned to put together a zine. I had lined up stories, other writers, artwork, a name, a concept, money to publish and even a printer (the husband of a long time friend who it goes BEYOND friendship that it'd be an entirely different essay, but I consider her my sister even with her and her family on the other side of the world now, she will always be my sister and in an essay about best friends she as much as Nick tops the list and Nick knows her, but like I said, it'd be an entirely different essay). Albeit all I had set up, Matt pulled out of the project. We remained friends, but I was determined to do this. So I put out an ad throughout the school and Nick answered the call. From it our friendship went from two guys who had been in classes together, to two guys hanging out on weekends hashing out stories, designing a magazine and becoming a tight unit. This bond itself actually could never really be explained. Nick and I share very little in common and yet everything in common. He has no interest in comics, wrestling, or usually the kind of video games I enjoy. We've read many of the same books, yet equally many more different books. I was built on Heinlein, Adams, Le Guin, Kerouac. I don't recall who he was weened on, but it was not those authors. We were raised very differently in very different family environments. Yet, there's this bond of connectiveness (sic). This strand, this universal pull.
Since Nick came into my life I've had plenty new friends enter it. Some more important than others. But all part of a major thing. For a short while my friend Rich Watson became a very close comrade. I'd actually known him before Nick. Going back to maybe when I was 16. He was an indie comics artist who I'd built a kinship with. I actually have a share of those. There's an entire crew of cartoonists I've known since I was a teen who I have grand friendships with but we don't hang out. Dean Haspiel, Josh Neufeld, Nick Bertozzi, Rick Parker, just to name a few. Yet if something happened in my life where I was in desperate need of a hand I think I could rely on them. I could also rely on Rich. I'm not sure what caused us to have a rift even. One day we just stopped hanging out all the time. Because of life Nick wasn't always available, still isn't so I always tried to have more friends. Rich also shared my love of comics and film, so it made talking really easy.
While the focus of this is about that one friend, it's Nick, I begin to feel remiss of not naming numerous other friends I've had through the years. Including my friends I've made on Livejournal or through LJ Idol or through various services. People I've known since I was 17, 18, 19, 20. Many of them people still in my life, but they live elsewhere. People I've met along the road of comic cons, wrestling shows, people I know have my back. There's my friend Alex who I became close with when I was 16 and helped me find new comics shops and we'd hang out frequently and then like some friendships do, we drifted but are still in touch. Then there's all the friends I made about 10 years ago through the street art scene. People who seriously matter the world to me. I mean the world. A world where I lost one of those friends tragically two years ago. Pete was the best. There's Becky, Royce Bannon, Matt Siren, Chris RWK, Anthony, Ski, 2Esae, Luna, Natasha, Gigi, Garrison, Alison, Dylan, Joe... the list goes on and on. Serious friends who I know care about me. There's my friends from wrestling chat rooms, most especially Mike Langan, who I've worked alongside, been to Florida with, lost touch with and through a wrestling company that has provided me many more friends, got acquainted again. There's my poetry slam world where I got friends like Taylor Mali, Cristin O'Kee Aptowicz, Shappy and countless others. Then there's my alternative entertainment other world where I made friends like Hi Christina among so many others. Which brings me to Dave.
Other then Nick, David's been my BOY. Yet it's been a strenuous relationship these last seven or eight years. David and I have had a wild ride too. Not as wild as my ride with Nick, but quite wild. David is complicated though... it makes for a very difficult friendship. When it's great it's great, but when it's horrible? It's the downright pits and it hurts to be his friend cause I care so much about him but I can't help when he's drowning no matter how hard I try. If he drowned less, David would be a bro for life, but as it is now. We're friends, true serious friends, but I don't know to what extent. Dave's going through a very rough time right now, a situation that I am lost in knowing how to react to. It's something I've never had to encounter before so it's completely foreign and there's no right or wrong way to handle it. The fact that I don't know speaks volumes to the fact that I care.
Which brings me back to Nicholas Vincent Isabella the III. The person I could hash this out with rationally with proper care, concern, evaluation, etc. The man who since college has truly been that one friend. That one dude. Multiple girlfriends from hell on both our ends, a marriage from hell planet on his end, multiple jobs for both of us including more projects together and me helping him set up a business and him helping to get me gigs and vice versa. We've taken multiple road trips, gone underground, climbed abandoned buildings, saved each other's lives, traveled to outerspace together. I've been his best man twice. This second time is working out great. I love his wife and think of her as a sister in law.
Nick is the one person I can also talk to about not just Dave but all these other friends. He's my therapist and even though he has his wife, I'm equally his. I'm his lawyer also, and his tax man. He's my doctor and a sounding board and someone who believes in my talents as a creator. He's that one friend that I think whenever my time comes will be there (hopefully a significant other as well).
Even if he won't be there this year when I turn 39, but my birthday is also on the 23rd of December and if he can get away he should. If I could get away so would I. The only thing is I would go somewhere totally different, yet we'd text each other every other day to make sure everything was alright. That's just the way it is.
(I feel like I'm missing a name. I'm sure I am. I mean I didn't even discuss certain people who are completely out of my life now who had a major impact while they were there. Some better off forgotten, but not truly, because to forget would to repeat mistakes. Nick knows about mistakes, I know his... and we forgive them, it's also why he's that one friend.)
written for therealljidol Season 10-Topic 2: "That One Friend"