“I love you, man!” might just be the four most overused words at a bar. (Next to “I’m f*****g wasted!” of course.) Friends, acquaintances and sometimes even strangers are often the recipient of these kind words for no other reason than the bartender hasn’t stopped pouring. Alcohol along with it’s many other ‘powers’ simply has the ability to make everyone and anyone your friend. (For a while at least.) During my barhopping days, I sealed more friendships through slurred words and drunken hugs than I can even remember. It is unfortunate that many of these bonds forged out of hops and wheat lasted only moments past my one shot too many; nevertheless, I have always been grateful for any and all barstool camaraderie. Any connection with another soul, no matter how foggy or fleeting it may be, is a gift to be cherished.
And I do.
Especially when that connection helps to deepen a friendship that is already there.
I didn’t say, “I love you, man!” to my friend that night in Macau, but I could have. Maybe I should have. But I didn’t. What I did do was weep like an idiot as we left the bar. One second I was fine, and the next a waterfall of salty tears was rolling down my cheeks. I know that the floodgates were opened by a conversation I had had with my brother earlier that night about Rachel’s miscarriage. It was the first time I had talked about our loss and apparently the words we shared let out emotions that had been packed a little too tightly in my chest. Of course it didn’t help that I was wasted at the time. But that is not at all the point.
The point is how my buddy ushered me out of the bar and kept me from becoming a spectacle. We were in Macau that night to celebrate our other buddy’s bachelor party. The mood was high and everyone was more than a little intoxicated. The last thing that was needed was the drama of an ’emotional’. (An emotional is what my friends and I used to call a drunken breakdown.) My buddy somehow managed to maintain the status quo while covertly helping me deal with my pain. He didn’t pry; he didn’t nudge; he just told me that it would be ok. Even in my alcohol induced stupor, I knew that he was right. I just couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. A part of me obviously needed to release the feelings of sadness that I had long been repressing. (“Release brings relief.”) My buddy gave me exactly what I needed – a silent connection.
Nothing was ever mentioned about that night until a year later. As my friend and I shared whisky and a moment in an isolated cove on Shiao Leo Chiou, an island off of the coast of Taiwan, I explained why I had broken down that night and thanked him for what he had done. Once again, I neglected to say, “I love you, man!” Maybe I should have. The sentiment was and most certainly is there. Nevertheless, the words didn’t seem right at the time. As the cool sea air blew on our faces and chilled our bones, all that was needed was the warmth of our whisky and that silent second of connection.
We Found Love, by Rihanna, was covered by an amazingly talented artist at one of the bars we hit that night in Macau. Her sweet sounds and the song’s driving beat lifted me from my seat and had me bouncing around the floor like a madman. For me, it was the song of the evening. Every time I hear it played, I am reminded of the highs and lows of a weekend worth remembering! Although I didn’t find love, I found depth in a friendship that I didn’t know was there.
We Found Love youtube link