I don't have many friends. I never felt the need to have a lot of close friends around all the time. I remember after my divorce I would sit at home and watch episodes of "Friends" and cry and think "What is wrong with me? Why don't I have a group of kooky people to hang out with? Where is my Joey?" but that passed. I have some friends. Those friends I have I love, oh I love them, I love them fiercely. Maybe I only have a few because I love the ones I have so much, I can't imagine loving a lot of people that deeply.
Earlier tonight I heard from a friend of mine who moved away from town a few months ago. He's back in town for a visit, said he'd been thinking of me. I saw him not too long ago, at Jarryd's memorial. Jarryd was quite a man, too. A sunshine of a man, a gorgeous boy. When brother called me to tell me Jarryd was dead I thought, "He can't be dead, I just saw him" I thought, "He can't be dead, he's so pretty". Pretty face, pretty soul, loved the pretty ladies, Jarryd. When I got to the memorial I arrived alone, tripping over the rocks and roots at the land co-op community center in my unfortunate shoes. I felt lost, so many faces, so many people I hadn't seen in so long and not one among them I wanted really to share my grief with. Until I saw Dirty.
Dirty is one of his names. I don't know how he came to be called Dirty, other than maybe sometimes he is. Dirty skin, sure, dirty fingernails, maybe. Clean soul, giant heart, the man is a lion. He's got curly dreaded brown hair he keeps tucked back in a bandanna and prison tattoos, he's tall and broad and when he smiles you'd think the sun just came out and those eyes, good Lord those eyes. There are stars in those eyes, but also oceans of sadness too he does not show. Dirty has been a hobo, he's lived in train yards and on rooftops. He would just as willingly protect me in a fight as he would hold my hands and kiss my face.
So I saw him, standing a bit away from the crowd, side touching another good boy we know. I made my way over and he just pulled me on in. His hand on the back of my head, one arm around my waist, he tucked me right in there between them so strong, and the other boy rounded out the knot of us. I dropped my purse on the ground and had my arms around both of them as much as I could hold and I cried, god I cried, and they held me as I shook and they were shaking too. The crowd was in the shade and we were in the sun, it was so hot there were rivers of sweat between us and rivers of tears on our faces and our shoulders, down their backs I cried and pushing my face into Dirty's chest I cried. I hurt so bad I wanted to crawl up in his strong strong heart and just stay there till the pain let up. And he let me. On beyond when it would have been polite to let go, on beyond when it was even comfortable anymore to be holding someone in that hell hot sun, he held me. 'Cause that' how strong that man is. That's how strong he loves me, and loves Jarryd, and loves that other boy we were holding.
He left town that same day, and I hadn't heard from him since, but that's how he is. He's a sojourner. Once he bought a beer from me and wrote on the five dollar bill "Dirty loves all of you" and after he walked away I put five ones from my pocket in the till and kept his fiver. I took it home and clothes pinned it to a trailing hanging plant that lives in my living room, just for a little makeshift voodoo, a little blessingway to keep Dirty and his love safe and healthy.
Some people just touch you. Maybe Dirty isn't the kind of friend who will sit in a coffee shop with me and be catty about the people we know (or actually he might, he's a pretty well rounded guy), he's the kind of friend who will come and go in my life as he wishes and that is fine. Just knowing he's out there makes me feel safe and loved. I love me some Dirty, that boy is hearts ease.