About a year or two ago (though, I think it was two years ago), I received one of the most memorable compliments I have ever been given. I was reminded of it today, as my mom and I drove around in the sunny daylight that was following our storm so nicely. With all of the rain and flooding, many people have pulled out their trucks and boats, and gone to the rescue of those in need of water transportation in areas that formerly were roads (and which, I suppose, likely still are, just beneath all that water now). For this reason, I was reminded of a particular friend of mine who has a boat. (Or, at least, he did have a boat when we last were in touch. Currently, I’m not so sure, because we simply haven’t been much in touch since I moved to Japan.)
This particular friend was a childhood friend. In fact, he was one of the neighborhood kids. I secretly – or so I thought – had crushes on him and his brothers when we were all little, and we all would play together all along the street, the whole lot of kids. Anyway, as everyone moved off to college and parents moved off the street, a lot of us rather lost touch. Here in there, though, we each would see others briefly in life. About two years ago, this happened for me with this particular friend and his brothers.
We were at a country-western bar/dance club in Houston, and I recognized them. Sure, they were all massive men compared to the last time I had seen them, when they were all possibly in college. Big and strong, burly men was an easy way to describe the guys who stood before me in this bar. I was amazed, though delighted – I guess scrawny little boys can grow up to be big, strong men, after all. 😛
It was as I was talking with one of them that the memorable compliment came. He said to me simply, “You’re gorgeous.” And he said it multiple times. I’m not sure how many times exactly, but I know that it was more than once. What really stood out about it was not so much the words (though they were amazing), as how he said them. I can still hear it, even, it was so impactful. He did not say them in any condescending way – ‘How unexpected that you would be gorgeous,’ – or as though he were hitting on me – ‘Hey, let’s go to my place, gorgeous.’ He was simply stating something he believed, and earnestly, with feeling. It reminded me of how girlfriends (true ones, not the fake kind) might talk to the girlfriend who has just found the perfect dress for something, and is thrilled, or who is all dressed up for a big date or presentation or her wedding – there is no jealousy or dishonesty, but pure love and honesty in the declaration of her being gorgeous in that dress. He wasn’t being sleazy, but truly gentleman-like, and it was amazing. It really was.
And that was it.
Because of this brief interaction I had with this friend, he has remained in my regular thoughts these past couple-ish years. Every so often, I am reminded of him, and I am grateful for him, and I wonder how he is doing (and I usually get distracted by something or other before I am able to send him any kind of message to check in, but I occasionally manage it). This weekend especially, I have wondered how he is doing, over and over again, and I finally managed, after however many days this storm has been, to check in with him. It was brief, but I made contact and found out that he and his family are doing okay. They all hold special places in my heart, because of their various roles in my childhood, but he has an especially dear one, thanks to his beautiful compliment, whenever that was.