The Company We Keep

Something said when I was young “You’ll be known by the company you keep.” This could be praise or caution, depending on what I was doing. A friend’s parent said it to their child about me. I noticed it was not a compliment. I wasn’t guilty of the accusation and my friend and I went on to other kid pursuits.

Another group is demonstrating this adage this week and it’s just as unattractive as ever.

Finally, there’s a group I’d like to join – the battle-scarred warriors who are, as it is said, planting trees they won’t sit underneath.

I recently lost a friend to the kind of poor health that follows a broken heart. I’d hoped and tried to repay this lovely person for the shelter and kindness she showed me when I was a spurned, frightened teen. “Doesn’t it make it seem like it had a purpose – that I can save you after you saved me?” I asked in email, after my calls always went to voicemail.

Then, learning via online search that this friend I was positive I’d see again, had passed away.

You always had my back, dearest girl, even when your other friends wanted me gone. You recently read my book and said it made you cry – no! I’d said those things were in our past. The last thing you emailed me comes from your strength always always ahead of mine: “You said you would do it and you did.”

The company I kept. That I should have had such a friend.


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