truth in friendship

Last night a little IM box popped up about 11:30--just about the time I was thinking I'd turn in for the night.

"Anybody home?"

Damn, I thought. There goes a good night's sleep.

Greg and I can chat all freakin' night about everything from vacation to how to better ourselves as human beings, and we do. As you can see by his post, it was put out there at 4:08 am, and I took up most of his night before then.

So today of course I'm exhausted and tired. But it's a good tired, because I always feel a sort of relief after we talk. We figure shit out together.

Exhuasted or not, my girlfriend is still dragging me out to see the Indulgers play at a Street Fair, sans kiddos. Should be fun. My friend and I hit it off like crazy; we even look alike. We're both short and built alike. We both have tall husbands and a boy and a girl. We see eye to eye on a lot of things; we did instantaneously. I remember the first time I met her I thought, Now this is a girl I can be friends with. We just get along.

I have a lot of good friends, but only about three with whom I would share anything with any real import. One of them is online, we've never met, per say. But it's valuable anyway. Another one is an old college friend, who I think I could pick up with immediately if the need or want arose. We talk sometimes; keeping it about our lives and kids and work. But stick us in a bar with a couple of beers under our belts and I fugure we'd get past it. Proximity is what we need, but don't have.

But I thought out how to recognize a good friend when they come along. It's not even about being yourself, but about the capability of not having to resist the urge to lie or embellish. (Yeah, it's still on my mind.) There are only a handful of people in my life with whom I have no urge to manipulate the truth. My husband, of course, because he knows me so well that to lie would be stupid. He'd know. He's probably the only person on the planet who could nail me hands down in a lie. He wouldn't be insulted; he'd be amused, probably and call bullshit. Or he might not, because in a good marriage you let things go sometimes.

He doesn't like to be written about, but someday I will. For now I can say that he's not perfect, but he's mine and I love him and lust after him with all my heart and soul. He maintains that perfect balance between giving me what I need but not giving me all that I want. And he's the far superior parent. I'm not the only person who is lucky to have him in my life.

I couldn't lie to my college friend. She also knows me; we have a lot of history together. But also, there's no need. We have never once needed to impress each other. It's brilliant, really. She wouldn't be insulted by a lie, she'd be concerned as to why I felt the need. She'd call bullshit in order to make me face up to whatever demon made me lie.

And Greg. I can't lie to him because we've seen the rhythm of each other's truth far too often. Mac said something recently about a sort of brotherly love where you "stand shoulder to shoulder and see the same truth." (Well, CS Lewis said it, he just repeated it. But it's worth repeating.) I liked that a lot. Greg and I come up with the same truth, often, at the very same time. To lie to Greg would be... superfluous. (His word, heh.) He's too smart anyway, and he knows me unexpectedly well. He'd call bullshit because it would be an insult to the trust we've built.

Harley is wondering about truth as well. Do his readers prefer his stories to be truth or fiction? I think the consensus is that we don't really care, just keep 'em coming. The intrigue in a good story rests in when the fiction rings so true that you can't tell if it's a lie or not. The best storytellers are accomplished liars; every last one of us. I wrote something like that on his blog:

"The notions of truth and fiction are absurd. Truth is all about the manipulation of perception, and fiction when you know it's being manipulated. The end result is the same (hopefully): an enjoyable journey for writer and reader."

I enjoy others of my friends immensely; friend who require that I lie to some degree for some reason or another. But even when I think I'm telling the truth to say, my husband, it's really only my truth, right? It becomes a lie by ommission because of all that I don't know. Hence, every truth has an element of fiction in it; every truth is a lie.

So I guess that leads me to think that our super good friends are the ones who help us believe our own truth as whole and untarnished. It's something we need and something you shouldn't have to live without. I'm lucky that way, no lie.

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