A fine bottle of wine and a good friendship have one thing in common - they only get better with age. Tonight I had an opportunity to experience both, since I was able to catch up with Glen, one of my very best friends over a steak and a bottle of Merlot from Western Australia. More than with any other friend, it is with Glen that I have the most emotionally probing conversations with. Sometimes an attempt to talk on a deep level too quickly can feel rather contrived, but this is not the case with Glen. To be wading in the depths of the human soul seems most appropriate for our friendship, even without the necessary warm-up that usually precedes such conversations.
After returning to my place with Gelati in hand, I decided to play Glen my favourite Smiths song, "There is a Light That Never Goes Out". Responding to his question about why this was my favourite song, I suggested that there was something very romantic about an outcast who can find true respite from the world only with his friends. It is his friends and not his house that are his true home. I find this idea a most bittersweet sentiment. For some reason I was reminded of the words of Peter: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68). There is something gloriously desperate about this confession. There is nothing left but Jesus, and yet Jesus is more than enough for Peter. There is no middle ground between transfiguration and oblivion. I then began to reflect that there I rarely feel as though I am truly home. Generally speaking, I only momentarily have these flashes of brilliant light that represent my true resting place and these flashes are few are far between.
Next, we talk about friendship. In particular, we looked at the phenomenon of "best friends" and what this actually meant. We both concluded that this was a painfully absurd concept and that the very idea of ranking undermined what friendship was meant to represent. I can safely suggest that a have three friends that I would regard as my "inner circle", in which I would include Glen. However, to differentiate between these three friends is an impossible task. Each of these friends is different and each friend contributes to my sense of wellbeing in a somewhat different way. Agreeing upon this conclusion, we could not promise each other a gig as the other's "best man", but would certainly include the other in our bridal party.
Of course, our conversation wasn't just about friendship. In a meaningful guy to guy conversation you simply have to talk about girls. And you have to talk about cricket. These are the bread and butter of most guy's lives, and as such, we could spend an evening without discussing such vitally important topics. Not that these topics are ever resolved, but that doesn't stop us from trying.
As the night wound down I paused for a moment and inhaled the stale city air with a feeling of mellow contentment. I was home.