I have a friend.
His name is Bruce Music.
Let me tell you about my friendship. I met Bruce Music many years ago now. I was about 17 he was a few years older.
You know how it is when you meet someone and you just hit it off. He was a bit of a flake when I met him. He talked at 15 to the dozen and lived life as if he was never going to have enough time to do all the things he wanted to do.
This guy was fun. He had an amazing cast of friends, Crazy Janey, Wild Billy, Mary, Sandy. The great thing was that if they were Bruce’s friend they were my friend.
For a few years there life was a bit full on, we spent nights down at Greasy Lake or listen to the Jazz man on the streets of NYC. We lived in the night we ran with the Magic Rat and we thought that the world was ours to consume, all we had to do was make that meeting across the river.
But life is not like that is it? It moves on. Nights down on the circuit start to pale and life starts to muscle its way in. The long long summer at the beach gives way to the autumn and the winter, and when summer rolls around again, the faces have changed.
It was not just me that changed. Bruce changed but he never turned his back on his friends. The fire didn’t go it just burned with a different intensity. When you have together faced down the twister and seen the dark cloud rising from the desert floor you cannot go back to bring the person you were.
You grow up, you grow apart, you come together. At times you discover things about each other you didn’t know were there before.
In Bruce’s case, both he and I discovered he had a darker side. He started to see the world in a way that he hadn’t before and when he shared it with me it knocked me sideways. One of the greatest gifts one person can give another is the insight that illuminates the dark path we travel. He was not always easy to live with but I never doubted his friendship.
In my mind, the test of any friendship is that when you go away for a while and have no contact, you meet again as if not a day has passed.
He had his challenges I had mine but this friend never left me. He was always there for me if I needed him. We relived the glory days and we explored our experiences in the tunnel of love.
We both know we cannot change the world but we have both suffered it’s hurts. How could I really have a friend who felt no pain of those who suffer.
Where are we now? I can only say me and Bruce are better friends than we ever were. We both carry the bumps and scars of decades of life.
Bruce has probably been the most generous friend I have ever had, when I felt like cutting loose he was there, when I needed someone to help me work out the vagaries of life and love, he was there.
Most importantly however dark life became he never gave up hope or stopped offering the certainty that there is hope of sunshine ahead.
Now we have grown older we don’t go down to Greasy Lake so often but we do sit outside the Moonlight Motel and swap tales about a life well traveled. He knows many of the places I know, he has been many of the places I have been. We have been there together.
When I look back on our friendship it is really a life long conversation, one that will endure until one of us is no longer there.
Of course I have other friends, Joni is a beautiful soul, an artist who lives in a box of paints. Bobby, who I love but will never understand, Leonard who has me believing that some souls are older than others. All of whom I and lucky to have known.
But none hold a place in my heart that Bruce does. Steadfast, honest, deep as an ocean but as friendly as it is possible to be.
Thank you old friend I look forward to watching the sun go down together and as we do we raise a glass to the comrades we have lost.
Maybe you too have been fortunate to have a friend like this.
I hope so.