There's a plane somewhere over a vast expanse of sea and sky right now, on course for Thailand. Somewhere in there is my best friend; with him, neatly packed, is eight years in a life encompassing past and present, condensed into eight days of a crazy, often heat-filled, wonderful visit.
How do you compact eight years into eight days? A year crammed into twenty-four hours? How do you measure the worth of smiles, in-jokes, fur, lemon meringue soup, Abyssal insanity and friendship over the span of a lifetime across several different continents?
I don't know. In a way, I don't need to know. When someone's willing to drive about twenty hours out from Oklahoma to Virginia Beach on an utter whim merely because a mutual friend is visiting me, stagger into my apartment at 5am in the morning with the accusation, "YOUR TOWN PLANNERS WERE ON CRACK!", and drive back home the next day for another twenty hours because he had to work - measurements don't count any more. That's the stuff memories are made of. That's the stuff my memories of Jer are made of, and so much more.
Jer the Furstack is the only person who's ever had the distinction of having me bake him Lemon Meringue Soup. There's a story to that, but suffice to say, lack of cornstarch in Lemon Meringue Pie is a bad thing. He survived Irish dance class when I dragged him with me on his second visit. He's seen me through fur, fire, distance and sword - quite literally this time around, that's another post on its own - and he's always been there. Even when he was stationed in different parts of the world, he was always there in some form or other, be it email or the occasional appearance on a game.
We had eight days together and we crammed eight years of a lifetime into it, and another few years to tide us over before the next visit - whenever that is, but it won't be another eight years, for sure.
Old lives, new lives. A not-so-distant past merged with my present in the form of an old, precious friendship.
Here's to many more years of broken epees and lemon meringue soup, Furstack.
Jer's farewell present: The Abyssals - Whisper in the Deep Shadows and the Pale Oracle of Dry Bones. Whisper is the one with blue eyes; Oracle could have been lots better, but at 5am in the morning? Sleep won over perfection by a few hairs.