Each other is all we have. It's no surprise, then, that when we think about the chapters of our lives, those chapters usually begin and end with the beginning and ending of relationships. My current chapter began in July 2016, when I made the move from Philadelphia to Denver. In many ways, it was the fulfillment of a promise made between Peace Corps friends; Carly, Evan, and I spoke often of our desire to live in the same place some day, and after two wonderful years spent with Kyla, it was time for me to join them.
The great advantage to this arrangement is that Evan and Carly had been cultivating friends in my absence, so upon my arrival last summer, I was met with a wonderful group of people who had been carefully conditioned by Evan and Carly to like me.
Readers of this blog will remember Evan and Carly from my Peace Corps days. They were the closest I had to family for two years, and by the end of our service, we were inseparable.
Pappy. Pop-pop. Dilly-dally. Evan is known by many names, but he is as consistent and reliable a friend as any man is likely to find on this earth. Whenever I need advice, I go to him first (although his advice is rarely straightforward, and often leaves me with more questions than answers). When I need dark humor, he always obliges.
Carly served the role of wiser, older sister all throughout Peace Corps, and even today I look to her for guidance. We are alike in many ways, which has its difficulties, but also gives us a richly rewarding and intimate understanding of one another. Carly has a strong moral compass and can always be counted on to stand by her principals. She's also become the political conscience of our household, a constant reminder to fight for what's right.
Lilly is the first person I met after moving to Denver. I admire her for the passion she shows for her work and for her moderating sensibility. Lilly is not afraid to share her opinion, and she makes no apologies for her positions. She is quick to laugh, easy to talk to, and like Carly, politically active.
Upon my first few meetings with Tim, he struck me as a very calm, gentle, pleasant person. He is all of these things. Later, however, I saw another side of him. Tim is known for his ability to transform a tame party into a ridiculously fun party. He has a wonderful way of drawing people out of their shells, and he's always willing to join in whatever games are being played.
Carla was my partner for my first Park Progressive. I met her at Cheeseman park one day to practice some lawn games, and within the space of an hour, I knew she would become one of my best friends. Carla is a great hiking partner, conversationalist, movie-watching buddy, and block-walker. She has a clear sense of the direction in which she wants her life to head. She goes out of her way to make individual quality time with her friends. When I'm hanging out with Carla, I feel totally comfortable to be goofy and playful. She is truly something special.
I had the pleasure of bunking with Phil on an Autumn cabin trip, and although I had spent time with him in groups many times before, it wasn't until this trip that I truly appreciated Phil for his qualities. He is an extremely agreeable guy. If he is ever disappointed, if he is ever judgmental, ever negatively inclined in any way, he never lets on that this is the case. To be around Phil is to be lifted up, laughed with, appreciated. And boy can he talk. Sometimes I feel too tired to think of something interesting to say, but Phil doesn't care - he's happy to fill the silence, and always with a smile on his face.
I've been a terrible friend to Jake, I have to admit. Just consider the picture I chose for him. He looks fucking crazy in this picture, but he's actually quite well-adjusted. In addition, I have long promised to spend some quality one-on-one time with Jake, but (besides some porch wine-imbibing/cheese-nomming) I usually only see him when hanging out with one of his roommates. Nevertheless, I am resolved to spend more time with Jake, and gladly - for I appreciate his adventurous spirit, his goofiness, and his outlandish beliefs about cell phone radiation.
Like Carla, I knew right away that Fubbs would become one of my closest companions. She is a wonderfully complex person, and as our friendship has developed, as I've discovered more and more layers of her personality, she has only become more dear. Fubbs and I enjoy the same simple pleasures, and stopping by to cook scones and watch a movie feels like the most natural thing in the world. She displays a quirky sense of humor, keen thoughtfulness, and appreciation for beautiful things. It is evident Fubbs has a rich inner life, and I'm honored to be able to share in that.
Penelope is, like Evan and Carly, a Peace Corps friend. As long as I've known her, she has been very sweet and considerate. She is a great listener, and has a way of making you feel like you're the only person in the room when she's talking with you. Sadly, the only picture I have of Penelope is the group picture at the top of this post, when she and Stewart vacationed with us in Southwestern Colorado. I hope Stewart forgives me for attaching him to Penelope's paragraph like this. I've not spent much time with Stewart, but he has always delighted me with his friendliness, bizarre sense of humor, and love of Brita pitchers. I hope to see both of them much more while I live in Denver.
Celia is one of my newest friends. She was around from the beginning, but for some reason or another we never spent enough time together to get to know one another. Luckily for me, this has all changed, and now we regularly indulge in common interests: musical theatre, podcasts, hiking, and countless nerdy conversations. Her interest in the world is boundless, and the joy and enthusiasm with which she approaches her life is truly inspiring. Conversations with Celia are always rewarding; her quick mind and ability to make connections between topics ensures that we'll never run out of conversation.
I met Josh on my first day in the office. All of the other friends on this list were made through Evan and Carly or through the Peace Corps. Not Josh. Josh is all mine. He was a co-worker before he was a friend. When I first came to Denver, I was working through a lot of emotions, and Josh showed sensitivity to this right away. We've spent many happy hours together talking about our respective experiences in the peace corps, in our job, and as young, white, straight males struggling with what we represent at this particular point in history. He's extremely thoughtful, funny, and kind.
I have been unbelievably fortunate to have made these relationships, and my social life in Denver is immensely satisfying. The last time I posted to this blog, I had lost a friend. It is gratifying to inaugurate the resumption of my posts with a celebration of so many new ones.