About the Poem
Angela and I were friends of long standing. Best friends. In some ways, more than friends.
This poem talks about that friendship. It talks about what a very dear person meant to me and my life, and how knowing her forever changed me. And, yes, it also talks about the pain and fear and hope that are inevitable when friendship crosses that invisible line into love.
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When Best Friends Love
|by Ron Carnell|
You entered my life like a gentle sigh,
like a quiet breeze blowing softly through the leaves.
You were a stranger first, one who laughed freely and easily,
who spoke of minor intimacies and common grounds,
who made me feel strangely liked and valued.
You became my friend, no longer a stranger,
trusting me with secrets hidden,
confiding what you liked and hated.
We talked and laughed and, as time passed by,
I grew more and more dependent upon your smile.
From strangers to friends was just a baby step,
a step a thousand others take every day.
Without your trust and trusting ways,
without your smiles and encouraging gaze,
I would never have taken the step beyond.
But the gentle breeze blowing through the leaves
is relentless and never ending.
We became closer friends, and closer still,
until much of my life was centered around the times
we spent together.
We traveled far along the path of friendship,
avoiding the bumps somehow, never stumbling,
always in step with one another.
You were my guide, my eyes and ears,
the unfailing light that lit the road before us.
Hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder,
you brought me along our course,
to a destination I had never seen before.
You became my best friend along that journey,
the anchor in my life where none had ever been.
You did a good job of guiding our steps,
a job no other could ever do,
and it wasn't your fault, really, when I stumbled.
Somewhere along our path,
perhaps where the heights were making me dizzy with joy,
I simply lost my balance and fell.
By the grace of God, I fell not to either side, nor to the rear,
but fell instead forward, along the path we'd tread.
My plunge forward was unguided, and my steps were steps you never intended.
I fell in love with you.
From strangers, to friends, to close friends, to best friends.
I've never been sorry for any step we've taken together,
no, not even for the fall I took alone.
I never knew, before knowing you, how empty my life had been.
I thought I was happy. I thought I was successful.
I thought I had known love and all that love can bring.
But the gentle breeze, blowing softly through the leaves,
carries the smell of wild flowers and still wilder beasts,
and what you brought into my life can never be assessed.
We are so very different, you and I. And yet so much the same.
And our differences merge with our similarities,
giving rise to something special and unique.
Of all the things I value about this thing that is us,
and there are so many I often lose count,
I value most the way we talk about any thing any time any where.
And each time I listen to you, each time I ponder what you've said,
I learn something new. About you. About me. About the world.
I've learned to trust in your instincts.
I love the vitality and zest that is so much a part of you.
I never would have believed the breeze, blowing softly through the leaves,
could be so filled with life.
I treasure that spark of spirit in you,
that flashing flare of fire that animates all that you do.
It's easy to see how much you love life,
even when life is sometimes less than lovable,
and that love is always mirrored in your eyes and smile.
You are never more beautiful than when that spark ignites
and your vitality blazes in your happy face.
And, yes, I love your beauty, shallow as that may sound.
I love the way your eyes change from blue to blue-green,
the way the morning sun catches afire in your hair,
the way your nostrils move when you breathe deep breaths,
the way your tongue slips out of its safe harbor when you think deep thoughts.
I love the curve of your cheek,
that soft milky canvas for the faint scar you won't talk about.
I love your tiny eyelashes, the small gaps in your teeth,
the way your earlobes hang lower than mine.
Your beauty truly takes my breath away.
I love the way you trust in me, never quite whole hearted,
but always just enough.
That trust started as a small seed, I think,
a tentative whisper of unearned confidence,
often shrouded by a cloak of hesitation and unsurety.
I could always tell when you faltered,
when the steps we took were uncertain and questioned.
And yet still you trusted me,
with your secrets, with your feelings, with yourself.
You'll never know how much that trust has meant to me.
I love the way you understand me too well.
It's uncanny sometimes how well you know my thoughts, my feelings, my moods,
frightening at times how closely our lives have become interlinked.
You know so much of me, secrets I've never told,
thoughts I've never shared, parts of me I've never seen myself.
You've discovered a window into my being,
a window I didn't know was there,
a window no one else has ever found.
It's almost as if our two souls have merged into one,
almost as if the hand of God has repaired that which once was broken.
I love the way we have fun doing the strangest things,
or the way we can enjoy each other doing nothing at all.
We shop and walk, eat and talk,
playing games apart and united.
We study and drill, work and play,
listening to music and singing the words together.
We have fun with each other,
frolicking in our shared pleasures,
you enjoying the thrill of life,
me just enjoying you.
I'm not blinded by my love, though, and know you are not perfect.
You are impatient and easy to anger,
too intolerant when you should tolerate,
too forgiving when you shouldn't forgive.
You allow the stresses of life to mold your day,
allow the commitments of life to shape your way.
I know your imperfections as well as your perfections,
know your faults as well as your assets.
And I find I love you not in spite of those,
but as much because of them as anything else.
Your life has touched mine.
My friendship with you, my love for you,
all that you are and aren't,
have changed my life in ways you cannot fathom,
in ways I could never describe in depth.
The gentle breeze, blowing softly through the leaves,
has worked her wondrous magic,
transforming the one she touched.
I'm not the same man I was a year ago.
I will never be that man again.
The communication we've shared has taught me to value our honest openness,
and I know I'll never be satisfied again with less.
Your trust in me has taught me to trust in you,
knowing you will never intentionally cause me pain.
Your spark of vitality has transformed the way I see life,
giving me reason again to live and cause to celebrate.
Your beauty, both inner and outer, has renewed the wonder
with which I see the world, and has restored my sense of awe.
Even the fun we share, that senseless sense of joy,
has changed the way I live and think.
As much as you've altered my present, though,
the effect you've had on my future is just as great.
I once thought I knew what love meant to me,
once thought I had experienced all that life had to offer.
I lived and I loved, and I hurt and I grew,
and I believed I could never love again,
could never willingly face the pain of caring.
Love was a myth, I thought, and true love, lasting love,
was just a lie told by poets.
But I was wrong.
In learning to love you, I discovered I've never loved before.
Not truly. Not entirely. Not eternally.
I've spent much of my life in love with love,
searching for the fulfillment of a concept,
caring more for caring than caring for another person.
I confused lust with love, intimacy with affection.
And when those feelings waned, when the relationships died,
I wondered why I felt so empty. So hurt.
You changed that, as you've changed so much else.
You taught me how to love.
I wish you knew the me of before,
as you know so well the me of today,
so you could see the difference knowing you has made.
You've changed my life in so many ways,
in ways small and ways important,
in ways you'll never know nor understand.
The impact you've had on me,
on the way I feel and think and act,
will endure forever. Until the end of time.
Like a quiet breeze blowing softly through the leaves.