"Oh friends-I most love who you become when there are cards in your hands. How limitless our love for one another can be with our guards down. When the first bit of shit talk rattles the chest and then gives permission for more, and more, and more until the talking of shit, too, is a type of romance. Anyone worthy of being taken down is worthy of hearing all the ways they are being taken down. I meet my enemies with silence and my friends with a symphony of insults, or jokes that cut deep enough for people to see them for a short burst of time but not so deep as to leave a scar. Dearest siblings, even in an ass-whupping, there's no place else I'd rather be."
Hanif Abdurraqib, A Little Devil in America
To be full
By a friend.
∆ Alice Walker, "No Better Life." Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth
But what isn’t romantic about people going to each other’s houses? And not in the “showing up on the doorstep in the rain with a boombox” type of way. I mean, the familiarity, the routine. I mean knowing where the extra toilet paper in the bathroom is, which burner on the stove doesn’t work, where to park when you get there, and where the extra blankets are for when you need to sleep over. To go to another person’s house, to be in their space continuously, is inherently romantic.
“There are so many crushes in a lifetime, so many friendships that mix desiring-to-have with wanting-to-be. It’s the combination of wants that makes these longings confusing, dangerous, and queer. There is a desire to know that is already knowing, a curiosity for what you deep down recognize, a lust for what you are or could be. Writer Richard Lawson describes it as “the muddied confusion over whether you want to be someone’s companion or if you want to step inside their skin, to inhabit the world as they do.”
Excerpt From: Jenn Shapland. “My Autobiography of Carson McCullers.” Apple Books.
People you love become part of you — not just metaphorically, but physically. You absorb people into your internal model of the world. Your brain refashions itself around the expectation of their presence. After the breakup with a lover, the death of a friend, or the loss of a parent, the sudden absence represents a major departure from homeostasis. As Kahlil Gibran put it in The Prophet, “And ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”
In this way, your brain is like the negative image of everyone you’ve come in contact with. Your lovers, friends, and parents fill in their expected shapes. Just like feeling the waves after you’ve departed the boat, or craving the drug when it’s absent, so your brain calls for the people in your life to be there. When someone moves away, rejects you, or dies, your brain struggles with its thwarted expectations. Slowly, through time, it has to readjust to a world without that person.
“For us of course the shared activity and therefore the companionship on which Friendship supervenes will not often be a bodily one like hunting or fighting. It may be a common religion, common studies, a common profession, even a common recreation. All who share it will be our companions; but one or two or three who share something more will be our Friends. In this kind of love, as Emerson said, Do you love me? means Do you see the same truth? - Or at least, "Do you care about the same truth?" The man who agrees with us that some question, little regarded by others, is of great importance can be our Friend. He need not agree with us about the answer.”