My best friend doesn’t know that he is my best friend. He just thinks that we play squash once a week. We met a couple of years ago now – well I say met, my squash coach at the time asked him to play me. He was expecting a bit of a pushover on court but instead he got me – the angry bird with a mean back hand and lots to say. I’m not sure he had a choice about whether to carry on playing me at squash, I just expected him to keep turning up each week. And turn up he did in more ways than one.
We like to warm up before a game so our conversation starts in the gym. We have covered every topic known to mankind including those he would prefer not to. He has listened to my impressive, loud and angry rants – desperately trying to interject with rationale observations during a brief pause and generally failing. He has sat quietly next to me whilst I have sobbed with sadness and wailed with hormones. He has ducked when I have thrown my racquet across the court in temper and bounced of me whilst trying to get to a shot. He has held his hands up in defence after accidentally hitting me with his racquet, to protect himself from my wrath. He has taken my verbal abuse when he gets a ‘fluke’ shot (which happens a lot) and taken the ‘fifth’ if he wins and I’m not happy about it.
He often goes off after our game to think about the things that I am upset about so that he can offer better advice the next time round. He never minds if I mess him around with changing the time or day of games and always tries to make me see the best in everything. He has no idea of the level of support, kindness and wisdom that he has given me over the years, he vastly underestimates himself. His life hasn’t always been easy yet he is not resentful, angry or sad. He gets up each day and simply makes the best of it.
He is the real deal, a genuinely authentic guy who is funny, kind and generous. He is my best friend but he just doesn’t know it.