Every Friday I have lunch with three friends who have become my brothers. Today it was just me and Chris, whom I call Ernie. Greg is on vacation and Doug must have forgotten all about us after having to adjust to actually working this week after three months off. Being an introvert I still get a little nervous whenever I am alone with someone, even a good friend. I feel naked and awkward, especially when I was expecting more than one person to be there and only one showed up. There are very few people who I am completely comfortable with. My wife is one. These three guys are the others. I'm sure there are a few more, but you get the idea.
Today it was just Ernie and me. What a gift. Most people as screwed up as I am have to pay $100 to hang out with him for an hour (he's a therapist, not a prostitute.) He asks me questions that most people don't have the wisdom or the courage to ask. And unlike virtually everyone else in my life, I like it when he asks me personal questions. I first met Ernie when we were 13. We became the best of friends in college, some 12 years ago now. I'm an only child so the concept of brotherhood has been difficult for me to understand. But I think I'm getting it. A brother is someone you just can't shake...someone you love more than your friends even if you don't see them as much...someone who sees into your soul and isn't appauled by what he sees...someone who remembers you as the fat kid, the cool kid, the success, the failure, the tormented one, the clueless one, the arrogant one, and the content one...and has for 17 years addressed you the exact same way every time he sees you: "Hey, buddy."