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My Bestest Friend
Dedicated to Antonio Holden
Submitted by Julia
This is not your traditional love story, nor does it reflect any conventional version of romance. But my story does reflect my truth of what love really is. This is the journey of two lives, two spirits, two friends traveling one path, sharing one soul and knowing one heart.
Tony and I met during our first year in college in 1984. He was vibrant and gregarious with humor that was as equally sharp as his intellect. He stood tall with a presence that extended beyond his gangly six feet. I was short, shy, pudgy and painfully insecure in my own skin. Yet despite our differences chemistry still ignited between us, a magical connection that was more spiritual than it was physical. The miracle of true friendship was born on this day.
In the following years we watched each other blossom into our true Selves. We wandered down separate paths, experienced different adventures, had our assortment of relationships and illusions. We danced with demons and sold our souls. We wrestled with grace and surrender to failures. Yet through it all there was friendship: the soft place to fall when the world was not so kind, the patch of light to bathe in the aftermath of darkness. It was here we wrapped ourselves in the soft folds of love and watched the heartache melt away.
Then several years later Tony, the one person who always nursed my wounds, would be the one to shatter my universe and completely break my heart. In the slightest whisper, as he leaned ever so close to my ear that I could feel the chill of his words, my best friend told me he was HIV positive. Then he softened his voice even more and asked that I promise not to tell anyone.
It is by far the heaviest burden I've ever had to carry, the most difficult vow I've ever had to keep. I find myself everyday catching teardrops in my hand and clutching my chest with every shallow breath. But despite my pain I continue to honor his wishes. And eventually, by the grace of God I've managed to open my fragile heart and look behind the veil of brokenness to find courage and hope and the blessing that is my bestest friend.
This October of 2004 will mark our 20 years of friendship. An amazing feat on so many levels but mainly because every day he survives is a great gift. As he nears his final passage I want so much for us to celebrate this milestone in the one place on earth I feel is sacred enough to contain the depth and power of our love. It is my belief that Hawaii is the one nexus where our heart and soul can be free to blend with earth and sky, where our tears can fall away into the cerulean ocean and our friendship can be graced with the spirit of aloha.