Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


Caller ID

The caller ID said, "Mr. Field".

I flipped open the phone to answer it; the first words out of my mouth were, "You gotta be kidding me! You have got to be kidding me!"

When he and Amy and the girls boarded that plane to leave Hawai'i, I swore that life was ending. First Boss, then 'Drew, and then Jon. God, I concluded, was most definitely not being fair.

When we moved them out of that house up on the top of Aiea Heights, it felt like we were all moving out. Jon and Amy paid the rent, but we all knew where the key was: in the Santa Clause mug in the outside closet.

I was sitting just several hundred yards down the road from that Aiea Heights house when he broke the news. I'd joked with him when he told me he had something to tell me, asking him if I should be sitting down. When he told me I might need to, I joked some more, asking if he was going to tell me that he was leaving. He wasn't joking when he told me that he would be.

Jon would call me at work. I'd answer, "TRICARE Pacific Lead Agency, this is John." He'd go, "Johnny! Whatcha doin' after work?" Several hours later, I'd find myself paddling out at Lanikai in front of Jon in his two-man kayak, the both of us laughing and yelling like manly men on a quest to hunt manly food from the ocean. In reality, we were a couple of guys who'd be tossed around by the surf, forced to hold on to the kayak's paddles for dear life as the whitewash pulled us along just above the reef.

We were sitting in their house when he and Amy, beaming as only those two can beam, told us that they were pregnant with twins. Aya jumped up and down like Aya jumps up and down, kindasorta sideways and forward, and Jenn had that smile on her face that was brighter than both my headlights combined.

I remember the day I let myself in with that not-so-secret key and waited on the living room floor, staring at the ceiling. I hated myself that day, and I felt like the wretch I was. I remember running with Jon, telling him what I needed to tell him. That day was excruciating, like the breaking of a bone that hasn't healed properly after the first break; I'm grateful for that day.

There were days when Jon would look at me and ask, "Are you funky?" He knew. He always knew. The man could read me like a book, then write a five-page, double-spaced review on my moods. I daresay that he would've been gracious, just like he always was with me.

I remember days when Jon would mediate between myself and 'Drew. I was being a jerk. Mercifully, they were both patient with me. I think it's safe to say that Jon's happy we eventually reconciled.

Jon had poured a lot into me in my high school days. For a couple of years, he got absolutely no returns on his investment. We'd joke about that a lot afterwards. I told him that he got a great return, but it just took a long while. He would smile, knowing his friendship meant more than life to his little brown buddy. I would come to see that he felt much the same way.

I can still see him walking into the cafeteria that day, the day we first met. I had no idea back then that more than a decade later, I'd be sitting in Louisville, staring at my phone in disbelief at the fact that he was calling me from California after going several months of no communication. He had no idea that I'd answer his call by saying, "You gotta be kidding me! You have got to be kidding me!" Nor did I know that he would be laughing at me, a friend that would be thousands of miles away, a friend that would hold him as a treasure among treasures.

We didn't get to talk for very long, but we made it count. He gave me the great news, he gave me the sad news. I gave him the rough sketch of the last few months of my life. I don't know what'll happen in another decade or so, but I think I'll count myself as blessed if I still have calls with the caller ID reading, "Mr. Field".

posted by Bolo | 1:33 AM
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