This I Believe

Jennifer - Falmouth, Massachusetts
Entered on April 20, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

This I Believe

I Believe In My Best Friend Patti

I believe in the power of one person to shape the lives of those around them in a manner so far reaching, they may never realize the impact. You could call this the “It’s A Wonderful Life” theory. In my life my best friend Patti plays the role of George Bailey.

Our friendship evolved within one semester, our last at Cape Cod Community College. For three years we hung out in the same area with the same people but somehow, we never met. Mythologies class finally brought us together and in less than a month designations of best friendship were issued. When I told Patti that true friends a) always tell each other the truth and b) always tell you when you have something in your nose, she was a bit shaky on the part about always telling the truth. Despite her doubts, we have been true friends, pointing out noses that need to be wiped, ever since. By graduation I was hanging around her parents’ house sharing light cigarettes and refills of coffee, watching her sisters’ wedding video with her mom and dad and viewing the secret reality of Patti’s Paul Young scrapbook.

Though we didn’t know it then, the next two years would be the most challenging of my life. Among the turmoil was one constant, my best friend Patti. She offered me exactly what I needed the most, a safe environment where I could laugh, cry, be heard or silent, surrounded by people who love me. I moved into her parents’ home for the summer, sharing their lives, their love and even Patti’s bedroom. Though Patti wasn’t exactly generous with her drawer space, she was generous with everything else. This is when Patti started teaching me about being in a family; you have to take the bad with the good.

It took another decade or so but the next thing she taught me was trust. During that time we had many highs and lows. When we hit rock bottom, I walked away from our friendship; Patti did not. She remained, patiently waiting, assured we are soul mates and there would be no walking away.

Mother to Darius, Daughter to Jo, Lover to James, Friend to me, Patti is the cog in the wheel of our family; she keeps us all moving, balanced and connected. People are her exceptional gift, making connections with anyone she meets. Near mute men break into story in her presence, babies stop crying at the sight of her, handymen are invited to holidays and strangers smile as she leaves their shop, intoxicated by her humor, attention and kindness.

Over the years we have struggled with words to define our friendship, our family; ‘framily’ was one option. But words are insufficient, our bond surpasses them all. In seventeen years of friendship, I have never met another soul I would rather spend time with than my best friend Patti.