The Football Player

Tomorrow, I pull up my big-girl shoes and haul myself, my largish-GMC envoy, and a carload full of clothes and knic-knacs back up to college. This will be the first time I did it on my own (a.k.a. without a caravan-ing parent in a minivan somewhere behind me). I’ve been dragging my feet about the whole ordeal – not because I dislike college or my friends there, because they’re wonderful – but because I just hate packing and unpacking and organizing and sorting…I hate everything about moving. It’s silly and childish and no doubt stems from the many uprootings we had as a family during my childhood, following Dad from job to retail job. As much as I love how I’ve grown up, I hate the boxes, the moving vans, and unpacking in new houses (or apartments) like none other.

Anyway, at just-turned-twenty I am an adult…kind of…an adult still dependent on parents for things like rent, car insurance, and the car itself, but something of an adult nonetheless. I am moving into my first real apartment, with only one roommate, and friends from high school who promise to visit and crash on our futon (a college staple, but not terribly comfortable). Which brings me to The Football Player, with whom I got off the phone right before I started writing this (see post title).

When I was in high school, I never would have guessed that one of my absolute dearest, closest friends would turn out to be the football player who bummed chewing gum from me every day in World History. It never would have occurred to me that this simple, slightly-annoying-albeit-funny daily exchange would lead to such a meaningful friendship.

Jacob – or Georgia, as all the football players and most of the school knew him – and I have indeed been friends since those days in history class. By fall of the next year, he was stopping by the band practice field to give me sweaty hugs when the team took breaks, which later led to incredibly smelly hugs after each football game. I helped him pass Pre-Calculus; he helped me with my pool game. We hung out at the softball fields while our little sisters played ball, and I’m sure that he had some significant impact on how that tier of high school’s little social hierarchy treated me, bookwormy band kid that I was (am).

He was a year ahead of me in school and his parents were ecstatic that he passed. They bought him a silver 2010 Mustang, which he very proudly drove to my house to show off. That boy’s smile over his cool new ride; whether it’s over some large, shiny man-toy, winning a football game, or getting a girl, he just makes you want to smile with him. In six years, that hasn’t changed.

Jake’s come to visit me at school several times; we spent a large part of my freshman year on the phone, questioning why he would rather talk to me than his then-girlfriend. I realized, after he left for school this summer and left me with nothing to do, that we’d essentially spent the past three months sitting in my carport smoking blacks (him) and talking (both of us). When you hang out with someone nearly every day for the better part of a season and never run out of things to talk about…well, you know you’ve found one of those grand soul-friends who just sort of resonates with you.

As we talked tonight, all of the past six years of our friendship came to mind. We’re an odd pair, as best friends go.

But we resonate.

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