SO I’VE GOT THIS FRIEND. . .

by Steve Clem on March 19, 2010

So I’ve got this friend.

Most of the time, this phrase is code for “this story is about me, but I’m thinly veiling it so as not to embarrass myself.”

But this isn’t one of those times.

Not that it couldn’t be. See my friend and I, we were pretty much sliding down the path of destruction and depression at about the same pace.

One day everything seemed ok. Then suddenly our worlds were upside down. Divorced. Fighting to retain our parental rights. Dealing with a legal system that is still heavily biased toward the mother in custody matters. Being owned by that system.

And while it is true that when you hit bottom, you bounce back up, it’s not always as fast of a path as we’d like. There’s two steps forward, three steps back. There’s good days and bad days.

But my friend, well, he endured quite a bit more hell than I ever had to. But we stayed in touch, albeit sporadically.

The last time I saw him a few months back, he stopped in to see my store and buy some steaks. He seemed to be doing pretty well, but seemed a little tired. That wasn’t uncommon for him though, as he tends to burn the candle at both ends 24/7.

So when I returned a missed call from him today, he greeted me in a tone I hadn’t heard from him before – giddy.

“Hey. I’m moving to Florida next week,” he said with the smile coming through the phone.

“You’re what?”

“Moving to Florida. Remember that high school sweetheart I had told you about reconnecting with on Facebook?”

From there, it was an hour long conversation about how he couldn’t find words to describe how he was feeling, and that he felt like this was the reason he endured hell.

“I believe in karma,” he said, still grinning through the phone line.

“So do I, and you’re obviously riding a nice payback wave of it right now,” I replied.

As the conversation turned deeper, he said something that made a hell of a lot of sense. “I guess I got tired of driving off cliffs. In the past, it didn’t matter if I was driving, or someone else was driving and I was just along for the ride, the car went right off that cliff.”

This time, he said, he moved to the backseat, and didn’t have any involvement in the path of the car. And now, he’s headed down the highway, literally and figuratively, to a better life. Almost a Zen-like quality to something that he can’t even put into words.

A toast to my “friend.” May his good karma continue on. And may we all sip of that cup of indescribable bliss at some point in our lives. Cheers.

* * * *

Steve Clem originally published this piece on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra.

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