Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Sacrifice of Love, or...

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It has been a very long week for me.

Last night marked the end of the week spent with the brass band, recording our Christmas album.  A tiring process, made more difficult to bear because of working a full-time job in addition.  Five straight days of 9 to 6 to 6 to 10 have worn me thin, like silk scraped three times too many.

It meant that I went largely without seeing the company of friends or loved ones, except those present at either my place of business or located with me on the stage floor amongst the microphones.  That, too, rubs a man ragged.  I was fortunately consoled by the known tenure of my labors and the virtual certainty of a memorable and valuable artifact in the offing -- even if only to me.

We tend to labor without consideration of payment for the things we really love.  Friends in the band announced their expected children with resigned and nonchalant ease, but the journey is one that costs them sleep, attention, pursuit of other goals, and the worries of ten thousand and one ways for things to go wrong before breakfast. 

But they love each other, so the weight is less when divided.

Allow me to present two vignettes of love in the abstract.  It is a shallow way of showing inclusion in a club to which I cannot truly claim membership.

*** *** ***

I have two younger brothers.  Growing up, the closest I ever had to sisters were two cousins who lived half a continent away.  Fortunate to see them even once every five years, they lacked a certain closeness and familiarity that one would posses in a sister. 

But there is one I can claim a brotherly affection for, though she be outside my bloodline.  A particular friend of mine, whom I have known for many years.  For whatever reasons, she has few close friends of either gender, but she and I have always been close.  We hold on to the people we trust, and we trust each other. 

It has never been romantic between us, though many have thought it was so.  What those observers saw was a level of comfort and familiarity they didn't often see in her life -- or mine.  To the regular world, that can often look like a sitcom-style attachment.  To me, it's just the outward sign of a deep affinity.

We hug in a way I don't experience with anyone else.  It caught me off guard when I first reflected on it.  After a particular intimate conversation, she hugged me strongly.  As our arms were wrapped around each others' shoulders, I realized she didn't want to let go.  To my surprise, I realized I also wanted to prolong the moment.

We held on tightly, as one might grab the mast of a rolling ship.  We shuffled slightly to change grip but remained in a steadfast embrace.  It was with a serious reluctance that we broke apart.  I seemed to take a form of sustenance from it; I was invigorated and sheepish.

It was the joy of having someone to hold.  Someone who was good for the length of contact, moment for moment.  It meant that we understood each other.  One person saying "It's difficult" without words, while the other replies "I know," equally in silence.

From that moment, all other embraces have been like this.  She often pulls me to her in such a way that it seems as though she would communicate with me by proximity.  It happens because I don't think she has friends who will simply listen to what she says.  Ones who will cheer her gains and sympathize with her losses. 

She is my friend and I love her deeply.  Not the same sort of feelings I have for other nice ladies I know, but protective and consoling impulses.  It's what I imagine I might feel for a sister, had I one.  

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