Today is the birthday of one of the best friends I've ever had.
The friendship was born back in 2006 when I lived in Florence. I had just broken up with my ex (the most painful, tearful, stuff-my-face-with-chocolate breakup I've ever been through) and my friends all called to check in. Now, my girlfriends are amazing in each and every way, but in that particular period of time, they were quite used to me calling and crying about a breakup every once in a while - let's just say I was pretty unlucky in love before I met David. So, their reaction was the standard "oh honey, I hope you're okay" but after the forty-fifth minute of me sobbing, they remembered they had a life and hung up the phone. That's when this guy showed up.
I didn't even know him that well, but during a chat on MSN (remember MSN?) I mentioned that the love of my life (oh, how wrong I was) had just dumped me. From that day on, he texted me every day, asking if I felt better, how my day was and if I was doing. And I thought, wow, this guy whom I barely know really cares about me.
We started spending more time together. He told me about his life, his passions (soccer, writing and ...well, spinach! He loved spinach so much that every time I ate it, I thought about him and sent him a text saying, "hey, guess what I'm having for dinner") and his friends, whom I later met. I told him about being in fashion school and gossiped about all the guys I dated as a "get over my ex" project. We talked every day and pretty soon I couldn't imagine a day without at least a text message from him. We went on trips together, ate huge three-course dinners and laughed until our tummies ached. He was becoming my best friend.
People had opinions. "How is it possible for a man and a woman to be friends?" said one guy I went out with. "Honey, he's just trying to get in your pants", was the opinion of a classmate. I laughed at all of that and, six years later, I'm still right: once, my friend and I ended up in a suite in Rome with only a double bed in the room. We slept in the double bed for three nights and he never - never! - even tried anything. He became like a brother to me, or, as I often say, like a sister (hey, I don't have any brothers so I don't know what that's like).
This guy is one of the most kind-hearted, caring and intelligent people I've ever met. He's also hands-down the funniest person in my life. No one has ever made me laugh as much or been such a comfort when I cried. There are so few other people that I feel I can totally be my quirky, geeky, goofy self with. He is one of a kind, but then I guess you only get a certain amount of best friends in one lifetime.
Now, as you may know, I'm engaged and live in London, while my friend still lives in the north of Italy. The last time I saw him was in September, when David and I had dinner in Covent Garden with him and his girlfriend. They were on vacation in London. I was ridiculously glad to see him, but at the same time, a tiny bit of sadness crept in. I was sad that this might be the last time in a long time that I'd see him.
Is it possible for a man and a woman to be friends? The easy answer is yes. The truthful answer is...still yes. Most of my other friendships with guys have either been friends of David's or have failed because the "friend" tried it on. While with this guy, as there was never any attraction whatsoever, we kind of went straight into the friend zone. Where we are very happy to stay.
Pictures from Pinterest