Friday, July 31, 2009
No I'm not giving anything away for free, sorry to disappoint you lol. After reading B's 30 people who have influenced her life this past month I started to think about my own list, no real number of people, just everyone that has impacted my life in some way. I don't want to steal her idea because some of them I couldn't explain. I started looking through my blog here and realize just how much I've talked about S and it makes me sad that I've missed out on so many other people. I talk about S so much because he lives 6 houses down and I see him every day, he's my single partner in crime in a world filled with couples and families. We went to see F and C last weekend when we were bored because I hadn't seen them in awhile and F(ree) out of a joke (I hope) stated he had disconnected himself from me to make my moving away easier on him. I think he was joking, but it really hit home and made me realize, he really has gotten the short end of our friendship.
He told me once that I didn't appreciate his friendship and I used to argue with him about that, but the more I think about it the more I think he's probably right, I've always taken for granted that he would be around and he would be my friend and in the last few years I've become really laxed about putting forth an effort on my end, and I felt horrible. So I've been thinking about writing this post about Free to tell the world just how much he really does mean to me, and how he's one of the most influential people in my life.
Free and I met shortly after starting at the factory. I had just quit the only job I knew at Wendy's and went to factory work for more money and to work third shift while I went to school. My first night was tough, I was not used to third shift and I was surrounded by a whole new group of people, I didn't know anyone there and I'm terribly awkward in these situations. I found the job terribly boring with a lot of time to do nothing. I was on the other side of the weld room from a majority of the people in a section with two robots with me and a girl working. The girl was a bit odd and not very talkative so I pretty much let my mind run wild with all sorts of thoughts about life during the night to keep me awake. I was very quiet.
At lunch time I went to the break room and found everyone sitting together in groups and staring at me, so I turned around and went out to my car to smoke through lunch. After lunch I was working away on my robot and suddenly a forklift came flying into the area and the driver stared at me and caught me yawning for like the 12000th time that night. He loaded up a box and came back around and stopped and stared at me some more. I looked at him and smiled and said hello. He looked back at me and said "You and I are going to be friends" and then drove off. The lady next to me laughed and wished me luck because not too many people liked him. I was a little scared but when he came back around again he got off the tow motor and told me I yawn too much and struck up a conversation with me. This.guy.was.hilarious.
We hit it off and the next night we talked some more and at lunch time he took me to the break room and introduced me to a few people and had a good time. It was instant friendship, he was so fun and grew up so differently than me that it gave him such a different view point on everything I found it so refreshing. I discovered in a very short time that people didn't like him because he was so honest. He doesn't like to hold back, he's the type of guy that if a girl is crying at her machine and says "I don't know why I can't keep a man", he'll be more than happy to stop what he's doing and tell her why she couldn't keep her man.
The first time we hung out after work I believe he took me to the old church he owned out in the middle of BFE since I was going to school for architecture he wanted to show me the place because he wanted to turn it into a cool 2 story home eventually. It had been so long since I had made a new friend it was such a great feeling. We talked about everything, the past, the future, the present, religion, just about anything anyone could imagine. The one thing we didn't focus on was work, which was such a nice change of pace. Every other friend I had met up to that point was only ever focused on work, but many of the people I met there didn't want to talk about work outside of work and tried their best to stay away from it.
Free was the first person to ask me if I was gay. I guess some people at work were arguing about it and he was the only one that asked me. I remember that day, we were driving through gull woods on the way out to his property for some unkown reason. No one had ever asked me before and at this time I suspected it, I knew in my heart I was, but I wasn't ready to accept it. I remember hesitating and then laughed it off asking where that came from. He told me someone asked him at work and he told them it didn't matter one way or the other, and reassured me several times that he wouldn't care either way, as long as I was happy. I told him no, but he knew better because Free can see through me most of the time.
Free was the one that taught me it's o.k. to spend money on a good meal, that's o.k. to spend a little extra for a fun night out because life is so short. He taught me it's o.k. to slow down once in awhile because otherwise you get too serious about everything. He taught me it was o.k. to let loose, that work was not life, it's just what you have to do to pay the bills and be able to have fun. He taught me the world of inside jokes and it was o.k. if we were the only two laughing causing a scene at work because to us it was hilarious! Free taught me how to be myself and not worry so much about what other people thought and it was o.k. to think something that society didn't agree with. He taught me it was o.k. to cut people from my life who were draining or bad for me. Most importantly he taught me the value of true friendship. Through thick and thin, good and bad, health and sickness he was always there. He rode with me to a doctors appointment in Toledo after work because he was afraid my car would break down in the ice or that I would fall asleep. He was there to talk me through getting passed by on a promotion I had my heart set on. He was there when I dropped out of college, and he was the first face I saw when I got to work the night I was ready to off myself.
Free introduced me to some of the craziest people I ever met, and also introduced me to some of the kindest people I've ever known. He knew all sorts of people from all sorts of back grounds and in all sorts of different circumstances.
He took me to many parties with his old friends and I remember one in particular. It was my first real exposure to being around drugs. Some of his friends were passing pot around and they offered it to me and I said no, they didn't comment about or anything, they just passed it on to the next person. I talked to him later about how it was nice to not have to deal with any kind of pressure from his friends, he told me that he mentioned to them that if any of them gave me a hard time about anything he's whop thier as*es. He was/is my protector. I never felt unsafe with Free, I always knew he had my back. I often told him I hoped I would never be in a position to have to fight because I would be very bad at it and not be able to back him up in the same way, but I would do my best. A situation still hasn't come about, but I would take a bullet for him, and I'm not sure I've ever done enough for him to know that.
When I decided to go back to college and that it involved moving to Michigan, he was pretty upset. He knew it's what I wanted and needed to do and never tried to stop me. I was sad because I thought he and I would get a great bachelor pad together and have so much more time to hang out, and I know that was in his mind as well, but I had bigger things to do. He went with me to take my placement tests, he spent 5 hours on his own that day, he took my car and scoped out places to shop and hang out and showed them too me when I was done. He really got into it, trying to push me and help me along and talked me through a lot of indecisions at that time.
Shortly after I moved we lost touch. I'm not sure why, what happened or who happened, but life just happened and before I knew it, his number wasn't his number anymore, he didn't live in the same place, and I just couldn't find him anymore. I was so afraid that I had lost him forever, my life just wasn't the same without him. A couple of years had passed and I was at my grandmother's house visiting while the family got ready for my aunt's estate sale across the street. When I was leaving I was driving down the road and out of the corner of my eye saw a guy mowing the yard when it dawned on me, IT WAS FREE!!
I nearly lost control of my car as I whipped my car around in the parking lot across from his house, I nearly forgot to throw it in park as I was trying to get out of my car as quick as possible to get over there. He looked a little confused about the car in the parking lot until I got out and recognized me. I was so happy I even gave him a great big hug. I was there for at least an hour as we reaquainted ourselves. I was so happy that I had finally found him again. The next several years our visits were hit and miss, life kept him running and school kept me running. We still talked once in awhile when I was home.
After graduation I moved into an apartment in Michigan and stayed on at my job but had more freedom and was able to talk to him more. We met up several times when I was home and he even came up to see me! It was a very costly trip when he hit the ice and spun off the road, but that's another story. We began solidifying our friendship again. Each time was like time did not exist, that each visit was right after the other. One weekend at his place I told him I was moving home to buy a store. He was less than thrilled and it took me by surprise, but he couldn't understand how after all this time I would want to come back. He supported me, but had his reservations, with all good reason aparently.
Free was the first person I came out too. I posted about it here, but am too lazy to find the post. He's the same awesome person he's always been. I haven't been able to give him as much time as I've wanted because of this store, but he's living his life. He's got a beautiful baby girl now and but I don't get to see him nearly as much as I'd like, and I can take the blame for most of it. My life has gotten in the way which makes it so hard to think about leaving, without getting that time to spend with him.
The hardest part of leaving will be leaving him again. I've left my family before but we get closer. I've left S before and we stay friends, I'm just so afraid that the distance will once again seperate Free and I, but I'm bound and determined to not let it happen this time. I hope he will bring his family down to visit because there is so much to do there, so much I'd love to show them, and spending time with him is alway so much fun and enriches my life. I never take the time to tell him any of this, and I have a hard time showing him. I guess I always take for granted that people know how much they mean to me, but I know it's not always the case. I wanted to post this entry to be able to tell him and be able to tell others why he's such an awesome person and give him the credit he's due.