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Remembering.. and the Regret

Today was my best buddy's birthday. He's laid back, not much for show, just likes to hang out & have a good time. Still I should have done more for him. See I'm just a silly teenager & I don't know yet that the majority of people in this world are too busy and self absorbed and don't really have time for you or what's going on in your life. I have yet to learn how quick people can disappear. I don't see how rare this down-to-earth, selflessly caring, genuine person really is. I don't see that him always being there for me is a thing I shouldn't take for granted. I don't realize how short our time is.. not yet.
And so I laugh with him and talk with him and lean on him when I'm hurting. I let everything be all about me. I let him just drive me around when I'm bawling like a baby over my heart being broken. He comes over and we play hours of Mario Kart until it's late at night and his parent are calling just to make sure he's still here. He smiles and doesn't correct my Grandma when she calls him the wrong name repeatedly asking him to pass the potatoes. :) He's just too kind for that. Oh, the days we drive around this small town in his truck, talking, listening to music, laughing.. so young, so naive, so free though we don't really know it. He pushes me to reconcile with our other friend which I end up being so grateful for.Then it's movies and it's prom and it's graduation. And as time goes by, things start changing. He visits me at college. He rushes me to the hospital when my new friend gets hurt. He is a rock, as always. I return for his graduation. I remember him coming up in the stands to give "his girls" a rose. I remember hugging him and wiping away tears as I beamed over being cared about that much. I remember his sweet thank you note for the graduation gift I'd given him- how he thanked me for being such a good friend. I remember the "committee"! LOL and the memories I have of that crazy time in my life. And then.. I don't like to remember what came next.
Time went by with us in separate places, life moving forward, marriages, babies.. it wasn't long. I'll never forget that day. I was in Wal-Mart with my brand new baby girl. My mom called. She said I'd better sit down.. And I remember feeling so helpless, so far away from what was happening. And our friend calling to update me on his condition. I remember that long drive back to that town then, to say goodbye to my buddy and nothing feeling the same. I remember gripping my sleeping baby and leaning on my Dad's arm as I stood there in shock as it all played out before me. I remember when the regret & remorse hit me and I couldn't stop the tears. I remember a large crowd of faces and how I shook with sobs, in public! So unlike me to show such emotion in front of so many people, but I couldn't stop it. I had taken his friendship for granted. The realization of that cut me deep. I wondered if I had ever hurt him. I wondered if he knew how very much I actually cared about him. I wondered if he knew how much he had done for me. The drive back home was hard. I was left alone with my thoughts and an emptiness.
As the years have gone by I've learned how extremely rare his friendship was. I have become a person with her heart on her sleeve. I sometimes get so overwhelmed with my love & appreciation for the people in my life and HAVE to tell them what they mean to me. I've put my friends high up in my priorities in life and truly value the time we spend together. If only I could go back and be this way with him. But it's too late for that. He's gone.. and on his birthday, that regret comes to pay me a visit.. because I should have done something more. I wish I'd have been a better friend.. the kind of friend he always was to me.

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