Monday, February 28, 2011

Borrow. Return. Share.

"If you were a library book I'd never bring you back." 

It's one of my favourite sayings about friendship. Yet we all know library books have to go back. When we truly love them it may be a struggle to share them. Reluctant to let go, we long to keep them for ourselves, escape with them again and again.

But think if we never shared them with others.

Just thinking about friends today. And how important they are. And what gifts they have. And what gifts they are. I have only a few very close friends now and I can't imagine life without them. But my list of friends throughout my life is long. Or it seems long to me. How did I make those friends? And where did they all go? 

Each one was important. Still is. Sometimes. Because I remember. I remember things they would remember too. But some things they wouldn't. Things they said or did. Things I needed. Things they probably didn't even realize I needed. Things they gave me without expecting anything in return. Though they wouldn't know that I guess. But sometimes I wonder if they wonder too. 

If I could only find that wizard in my Oz of night-time dreams I would stage a coup and take control. And then I would dream all my friends together, old and new, in my house, let them mingle, let them drink my Scotch, watch them enjoy each other. Laugh. Tell jokes. Play games. Play dice. Stand on the deck and stare at the stars and play guitar and sing. Summer breeze tousling hair and napkins. Chords changing. Soft looks. A playful punch here and there. I would let one or two fall asleep on the couch in the midst of it all just because we all need a little nap sometimes. And I would be proud of who they are and all they are and in my heart I would whisper thank you thank you and they would know what they meant to me, still mean to me. But I would watch them from a distance just to let my eyes enjoy seeing them all again. And I would ache to rush in there and say something to make them feel comfortable and loved and appreciated and respected and listen to them and make them laugh too. And mostly see myself again the way they seemed to see me. Once. But I wouldn't do that anymore. I wouldn't go and visit with them. (Well, maybe one or two. Just for a few minutes.) Somehow that might spoil it. Some weren't meant to be in my life now. At all. I can't change that. I can't. For many reasons. 

If only we had more rooms in our hearts with less locked doors, fewer gates we've closed because we had to for one reason or another, or gates open and waiting for someone to find his way back down that path again to look in our eyes and hug us and say I missed you or where have you been? Maybe someday? 

When I imagine all my old friends together like this, I remark to myself, those are my friends. Or were. When doesn't seem to matter sometimes. Just them. They mattered. They matter to others now. I enjoyed them and I hope they enjoyed me. I learned. I lost. I made mistakes. I gave. I took. I saved. I let go. They let go. I kept them to myself for a while. And I gave them back. And I shared them too.

19 comments:

Alistair said...

A beautiful, lyrical and poignant post that will, I suspect, echo with most of us who read it. We have all probably left behind valued friends and friendships for reasons that were right or seemed so at the time. I think we all carry a lingering regret for those friends we no longer see or who are no longer there for us and I think we all would wish for that window which would let us return even for a few moments to those friendships at their peak again.

and I think you caught that feeling perfectly here dbs.


Thanks for starting my day with a smile and something to think.stew about..........

Murr Brewster said...

I'm afraid I've got an outstanding fine balance on some of mine.

Chelle said...

I do not allow myself to go to the library any more. I am not physically capable of returning books. Thank goodness there is a trade-in second hand shop around the corner from me. Also Chapters. I own too many books. Oopsies.

I still have "On Beyond Zebra" from North Broadview Elementary School in Salmon Arm, BC. I haven't lost it. I know exactly where it is. I have hoarded and squirreled it for almost 25 years.

It is my favourite book. Thanks for making me remember it.

Chelle said...

But I totally share the books with friends.... so that makes everything okay. (Except On Beyond Zebra. Nobody can have that one)

Penny Lane said...

I am a bad person.
I used to go to the library all the time. One time, in particular, the last time. I took out a lot of books, then went on a trip and didn't return them. Now that I have managed to ring up a heft late fee ( way over 200 bucks) I have decided to just leave the books in my trunk and never look at them again. I buy my books, it comes out cheaper.

Vinny C said...

This makes me want to go out & make some more friends.

And return my library books...

Elly Lou said...

That was better than sunshine on my shoulders. Also I might go get myself a pair of John Denver glasses now. And I call dibs on the couch. Assuming you're going to let internet stalkers crash the party.

Kev D. said...

I never seem to find the right books for me. I'd love to blame the Dewey Decimal System, but more likely I'm just a tad bit too introverted.

Beautiful post.

vickilikesfrogs said...

Damn, dbs. I wanna be your friend and come hang out at your house and fall asleep on your couch!

Shana said...

Great post

The Holmes said...

The other day, for no apparent reason, I found myself thinking about all the friends that I haven't seen in a long time, all the people that I miss. Before I knew it, I was all choked up.

Laoch of Chicago said...

This is very well done.

G said...

It has always interested me how some people stick with you over time and others drift away...cool post

Antares Cryptos said...

This is an amaaaaaaaazing post!

Love the comparison and that we have "donated" them to other people, who can enjoy them now.

Wow. Just, wow. *CLAP*

dbs said...

@Alistair Thank you. I like your window idea.
@Murr Brewster Books or friends?
@Chelle This does not surprise me about you O fellow bibliophile. (I actually have a copy of my Grade 9 ELA textbook from Ebay. I would have stolen it if somehow I could have infiltrated my old Junior High. It's not my fault. I need a William Saroyan story. I NEEDED IT!)
@Penny Lane I never use the library; I must own my books and then give them away. It's one of my vices.
@VinnyC Thanks grinputter.
@EllyLou Thank you. You are welcome to my couch. You need it right now.
@KevD Thanks dude but YOUR last post...I might trade one of those old friends just to write like you.
@viki I want that too because then we could hear all your work related horror stories.
@The Holmes I can relate. Sometimes I will see pics of their kids in my old hometown newspaper and I will recognize my long ago friends and get emotional.
@LoC Thank you.
@G I find that interesting too.
@AC Thanks. Sometimes I think maybe I read to many romantic novels in University.

karensomethingorother said...

well, what an intriguing thing to imagine: all one's friends in the same room. Hm.

Alittlesprite said...

This post made me lonely, for the friends I do not have now :(

Al Penwasser said...

Great post! This made me go all nostalgic for the fiends I've had over the years (one of whom I still keep in touch with after 45 years).
I made this up this morning at school: "Friends are like potato chips-you should never have just one."
Hey, should I go to work for Hallmark?

manders said...

very nice. makes me reflect on all the people i am lucky enough to call friends now, and those wonderful friendships i cherish from the past. some come and go, some stay the course... they all have a role and and i value them all

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