Friendship is a bond too easily broken these days with trust seemingly nonexistent. If it does exist, it's typically misguided. Male comrades often frown upon the idea of a shared love for each other for homophobic reasons. This insecurity leads to counterfeit camaraderie. This lack of companionship reduces your friend to a simple acquaintance.
Lucky for me, those misgivings don't exist between my best friend and me. I met him on a Good Friday in 2005. The skies were clear of any clouds and as blue as the Caribbean waters. None of the worldly troubles mattered the moment we met. On our first encounter, he didn't even speak a word of English. As he tried to speak, it was a meager attempt, at best. To most, it was gibberish. To me, the language barrier didn't matter. I intrinsically understood what he was saying. He wore a fair-colored suit. His face lit up the room, and he captured everyone's attention with his mere presence. For me to remember details like that is a testament to how well we hit it off.
Throughout the years since that spring day, we've developed a connection as pure as ivory. He's learned to speak English quite well, though it was a journey of wordplay. Now, I can understand him without relying on our spiritual connection. He still effortlessly demands the attention of those in his company, just as he did that glorious day.
He has and continues to teach me much about what life has to offer despite our age gap. Before we met, I was aimlessly searching for purpose and self-worth. I had no idea what patience was. I had always been short-tempered and stressed before we met. I hadn't a clue of what sacrifice was. I had never given my life to someone like I gave to him. With the exception of my mother, he taught me the true meaning of love - unconditional reciprocity. He taught me about heroism as we shared his stories of survival in his younger days. He showed me the importance of happiness and carelessness. We never talked about our troubles. We never had arguments. He illustrated a picture of loyalty before my eyes as he included me in everything great in his life. He guided me through my journey of fatherhood when I didn't know the first thing about it.
His name is Eli. Typing those three little letters brings me great pride and joy. You see, Eli is in part, my creation - my son. In this world of vices, our friendship is a virtue.
A friend is a lifelong companion without conditions or rules. A friend is someone who you can pick up with right where you left off after 2 minutes or 2 years of separation. A friend is someone who's not afraid to tell you he loves you. I'm proud to call my son my best friend.