When Brandon James Singleton began his list of 10 things he needed to accomplish before his 30th birthday later this month, the one thing he knew was already lined up in his life was having a BFF. But sitting down and thinking about what that means has its own consequences ….
You remember the movie Now and Then with Rosie O’Donnell and Demi Moore? Oh yeah, and Tom Hanks’ wife …. About those four girls who became best friends over a summer and swore to each other they’d always stay in contact and return home for the most important times in each other’s life …. And when Rita Wilson’s character gets pregnant, they all show up for the birth of her baby?
No? … Well I love that movie. It was always like the foundation — the quintessential example — for what I thought friendship should be. And hoped it would be for me.
Well, it’s not.
I mean, I’m (surprisingly) still in contact with a few of the kids I used to play Red Rover with back in the day, thanks to Instagram and Facestalk … I mean Facebook.
I met my best friend almost seven years ago in New York City through a mutual associate and it’s been everything, even dealing with a jealous mutual “friend” who’s tried several times to turn us against each other. Fortunately, we always trusted each other more.
We’ve dealt with the difficulty of not living in the same city. But thanks to cells and social media, feels like we’re never too far away. And let’s not forget that crazy ex of his that threatened my life out of insecurity. Ohhhh, person who referred to himself as, “E-Dogg” — ya never stood a chance. Ha.
But a month ago, I almost lost him.
He was in a committed relationship with a (to use the word loosely) “gentleman,” who kind of jilted him out of the blue. Moved out. Took the dog. No warning. And he took it even harder than I expected.
And Brandon (we really do share the same first — and middle — name), took it harder than I thought. He attempted to do something, to himself, that I suppose seemed like it would end the pain. Permanently. The day I got the “goodbye” text, I was on the metro red train which runs underground in NoHo … meaning, cell reception is weak, if existent at all.
So I get off 30 minutes later, and get those annoying beeps that tell you you have messages in your in-box.
I’ll admit it: In situations like that, I screen sometimes. Busy. Rushing to another location. I’ll look and see if anything is business related or from family, and if not, put off reading or listening until I get where I’m going. So, I saw his name, third unread message from the top, and said I’d just check when I sat down.
But call it being in-tune with someone you love. Or maybe just one of those feelings. I actually walked over to a corner, sat my things down, and clicked on his message.
It was almost like being frozen in time.
The message was cryptic, but I still knew what he was saying to me. Fast-forward through freaking the hell out trying to get ahold of him. Thankfully, someone had found him and spoiled his plans. Here I am struggling to get focused and learn these much needed life lessons, and head on into the next decade. And without thinking twice, I just always assumed he’d be there beside me.
And for a moment, I had to think and feel what it’d be like without him.
I always imagined this Hollywood-like interpretation of what friendship was like, when in reality, much like a relationship with someone you’re in love with, it’s unpredictable as hell. And you’re constantly given little unexpected hurdles in life to tests how firm of a foundation the friendship/relationship has been formed on.
I started this process of rediscovery thinking this one factor — BFF — was the one thing on the checklist I already had covered. And it was.
I never imagined it would be the one thing I could end up not having 10 weeks later.
In the end, it makes everything sort of more clear for me. Turning 30, and becoming a real man, and getting my life in order, is not just this physical or mental journey I’m on. It’s way more of an emotional journey than I ever thought possible.
So far, I’ve been given some great advice. And I’ve been shown the brighter side to life’s quests and been put on the right path towards a successful future. But the one vital element I needed to truly continue was to — how do I put this? — truly grow up emotionally? I don’t know.
It just seems now part of growing up is truly appreciating what you have and have gone through. And taking that with you on the journey.
I may not have that epic best friend story from the movies. But I have someone who accepts me, flaws and all. Who supports me whether I’m making a mistake or not. And who loves me, unconditionally. And, in return, I need to make sure I’m showing that same consideration to this person who I plan to have along by my side for the rest of my life.
To know you’re not tackling something alone makes it feel ten times easier. And while I felt what he was attempting was selfish on his part, I feel somewhat responsible. I can’t control what he does, but I can make sure he’s aware that he’s never alone and no matter what’s going on in his life, there’s someone here that loves him unconditionally, on even more of a regular basis.
It may not have started off when we were “young giddy girls on the playground,” but by George, we definitely have switched over from from goofy young people to full-fledged adults.
My first real adult relationship. And he’s been around for years. Guess my version of Now and Then just starts a tad bit later in life.
And the funny part is: It still feels like what I always thought it would.
So strange to love someone more than you love yourself.
Wait, don’t tell my sperm that. I’m still way to selfish to spend my days giving away my food or watching Yo Gabba Gabba all afternoon …. Well, unless Hugh Jackman is ready to switch over to the dark side. I can be a stepmom. I saw the movie.
Peace out xoxoxo
Follow Brandon on Instagram & Twitter: @The_HugoBoss
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