D.J. Jazzy Jess and the Fresh Priest
Jess sat at my computer. She and Jeremy and I had been in the computer room for at least an hour, talking about movies and families and life and cats and anything else that came to mind. We'd gotten past the important things and onto things that matter, like recommending new music to friends. Somewhere along the line, Geof had wandered in and joined us.
"Should I queue up anything else while I'm sitting here?" she asked.
I gave a recommendation, and Geof laughed. "Get to it, DJ Jazzy Jess." We all rolled our eyes, and then I muttered, "And what are you, the Fresh Priest?" For that I got a high-five from Jess and a "That's 'Fresh Pastor' to you, Ames!"
So, yes, I had everyone over tonight. Call it my own strange, instinctual reaction to dealing with the news about Dad. I knew that Jess was coming in tonight, and it seemed like it would be a nice idea to see if any of the other local folk would be interested in having dinner with the three of us.
A few hours and a few phone calls later, I was shopping at Publix to pick up ingredients for dinner for six. Nothing fancy: my gold-standard pork tenderloin recipe, snow peas, and mac&cheese (kraft dinner for my canuckistani-mafia friends). For dessert I picked up an angel food cake; I figured slicing it into layers and putting homemade strawberry jam and whipped cream between the layers would work quite nicely.
So they came over, and I made dinner, and we talked about curling and hockey and friends and cats and all of the silly important things that friends talk about when they haven't gotten together in a while. Then Jeremy and I wandered off to burn a CD. At some point I realized the CD was burned and yet here I was, still in the computer room, sitting with my chair turned around backwards and spilling my guts to Jeremy about—well, everything.
I think we all know what 'everything' refers to—do we have to go over it again right now? Thanks. I thought not.
I've never had a brother. Always wished for one, but all I have is one sister. In many ways, though, the group of friends I've found since my freshman year of college have turned into an enormous set of geekbrothers. It's hard for me not to think of them as such; my tendency is to have just a few friendships of extraordinary depth, and the difference between friends of that depth and family is literally only a matter of genetics.
Everything else—the care, the love—is the same.
Otherwise, it's hard to explain why I was on the phone until 1:30 a.m. with two friends. One—Will—whose intentionally calm and soothing phone voice was on the other end of the line when I finally began to cry; the other—Brad—whose unique and bizarrely-insightful brand of humor was the one at 1:30 a.m. that actually had me laughing once again.
Maybe that's why I wanted to see everyone today. To let my friends gently readjust me so that I was oriented in the right direction again.
Many times over the years I've tried to explain the concept of having two families. The first is the family of your birth. The second is the family of your choosing; those people you meet that make you realize that they are, somehow, supposed to be a part of your life.
They came over for dinner tonight. They made me laugh, and they reminded me that life has to go on, and will, as soon as I'm ready to let it.
"In time," Jeremy said, "you'll find it gets a little easier. In the meantime, you just have to do what you must. You'll find a way."
Brothers, indeed; I couldn't ask for better.