I asked a friend of mine what it meant to have a friend. He's the kind of guy that I can actually ask those kind of emotionally based questions without him raising an eyebrow. He just pauses a minute and answers straight away.
What he said put a different spin on the process of friendship. His name's Ramon. This is pretty much verbatim.
"Let me tell you about my wife. Best friend I have. Always know how much she loves me. Throughout the years, I pulled a lot of stuff. Anger, drank, never hit her, but I could yell. Worked two jobs, didn't know anything about parenting, and did the best I could at trying to catch up with her in the chores, the family stuff, and still making sure I could be of assistance to her. She worked, too. She carried the weight as much or maybe more than I did."
"We always talked. I never really thought she understood me. I used to just talk and she didn't say much. Did this since she was dating. Most of the time, she just nodded. Once in a while she'd throw something in, but I guess she was just quiet."
"We were like that for twenty five years. One day I asked her why she was always so quiet. I don't know what came over me. Never really occurred to me. Lots of Hispanic women are like that, you know, but something just came out of me one day, so I just thought I'd ask her why she didn't talk much."
"Here's what she said. I've known she's loved me ever since."
"I doesn't matter what you say. I don't care how fat you get, how grey your hair has turned. I never cared how loud you got when we were young, and I don't care how much you talk now. What you are to me isn't contained in words. Most of the time your actions have supported the family. Your anger isn't attractive, but you're not a mean person. You help others. You try to do the right thing. You say you're sorry and sometimes you even stop doing the things that you had to say you were sorry for."
"I know your heart. You're a good man. All the rest of the stuff...it just doesn't matter. I love you because you're you."
"I don't have to say much. I know you love me. I know I love you. Just be happy that, when I speak, I don't tell you to get the hell out."
"That's friendship right there. Bottom line, doesn't matter what you say. Matters more what you do. But if they know your heart, like my wife said she knows mine, that's where the love it, man."
"If somebody knows your heart, man, that's your best friend right there. Don't let go of them, like ever."