A Letter to JMF (From Your Friend 4-Ever)

Dear JMF,

I know that you will never read this letter, but still I had to write it for you. Yesterday, I read on your Facebook wall that you have recently been diagnosed with HIV. On top of this, your father was terribly injured in a car accident. You have been thinking a lot lately about life, feeling worried that you are alone, and afraid of what the future may hold. You wonder whether you will die without anyone really knowing you, without making a difference, without touching anyone else’s lives.

J, when we were teenagers, you were my very best friend. You understood how hard it was for me to make friends, and you always tried to draw me into the group. You loved me at my best, and when the clouds were too dark and stormy, you held my hand until the sun shone again. (You had the same artistic temperament, and so you understood those melancholy moments).

And I knew you, J. I knew how you liked to tease and criticize, but how you were so sensitive when others teased you back. I knew how you loved to dance, and sing, and read Christopher Pike and Babysitter’s Club books, and how you never wanted anyone at our high school to know. But I knew, and I loved these things about you. I read those books with you, and together we danced around our living rooms and twirled flags and rifles in the yard. We shared one set of headphones, listening to Guns n Roses, and Les Miserables, and mostly Madonna. We knew every single song. We took long walks together, attached by our headphones, singing in harmony.

When I moved away, our telephone bills skyrocketed. We talked for hours and hours. Remember? We could talk anout anything and everything. We made cassette tapes for each other, filled with our voices talking, and favorite songs, and funny clips from TV, and we mailed those cassettes instead of letters.

And when your mother died so tragically, I raced to be by your side, to cry with you, to hold you, and to mourn the loss of a kind, loving woman who liked rock music and smoked little flavored cigars and loved riding motorcycles with her husband. She was always so nice to me, sharing stories about being a foster child, and comforting me when my problems at home were so bad. I loved her, too, J, because I loved you.

Oh J, of course you have made a difference. Of course you have touched lives. My life was so much better because of your friendship. In the middle of a troubled adolescence, you were an oasis of laughter, and understanding, and music. You got me. And I got you. We were best friends 4-Ever. We accepted each other, and we walked in harmony. I was not alone because of you, and you will never be alone, because you will always have me.

Love Always,