Core friends are special. Lifelong pals—those from grade school, adolescence or college—they are deeply valued. Common denominators of history, memory and youth bind ties unscathed by time and change.

Adult friends—at least for me—are different. Those encountered in life’s real world don’t have the luxury of being grandfathered in. It’s not that they have to earn my friendship, but, absent common ground, what’s the point? Moreover, came a time when if I’d meet someone and think he was a putz, or that she, maybe, had an “air”, I just passed. (They too, perhaps, followed suit). Life is way too short and yes, ‘tis better to be alone.

Alice is one of my adult friends; we met as “grownups” in the mid-90’s. Sitting at Fairmount Temple, I saw this anything-but-shy fortyish female dominate a stage. ‘Twas only rehearsal and yet, as one of the cast, there she was directing traffic. You couldn’t not notice.

In different worlds then, I never thought we’d be friends. (It should be stated, of course, that I never thought a lot of things would happen, most of which by now have).

We met again in the rooms of recovery. It was just years later and Alice, already a veteran, greeted me with a smile and humor that remain her trademark. Kinship was born.

It’s been nearly a decade and a half. Amazing. Some good things never change.

Still directing traffic, she sits at her day job—this time at The Temple. “Bogart!” she’ll greet me with love. (Never “Bruce”, by the way. Does she even know my first name?) We talk as I pass her desk. Always she asks about Stacy and sometimes too, about me.

It would be folly, though, for one to deem our friendship but surface. Alice, more than many, knows a smile from a smile. Only catching me alone will she add “What’s the matter Bogart?” as if seeing right through me. As such, few will note by I remember that it was Alice’s counsel I sought in the darkest times with Jodi.

One scene stands out…distinctly:

January 4, 2006, about 7 PM: Serenity lost, the only peace I could find was in meetings. I was hitting two or three a day, just to get away, just to hide from the turmoil of romance Worst yet, I was beginning to doubt myself.

“Is it me?” I asked Alice by phone, en route from Lander Circle to Cedar & Coventry.
“No, schmuck.”
“Yeah,” I protested, but—“ She cut me off. “It’s not you,” she’d repeat. “You need to let go.”

Ultimately, of course, I did, and life, as it always does, went on.

As one might imagine, nothing changed with Alice. I’d see her at meetings, we’d share the camaraderie; the beat went on. We each lost mothers; we each were there. The beat went on.

Time tests friendships and ours continues to blaze. It is founded, I sense, less upon the outward warmth and shtik we share than by heart—mutual heart. What a blessing to have friends you can both laugh and cry with!

I love knowing Alice is there. I get a kick getting called out as “Bogart”, safely secure that she truly knows ME, if not my name. Most of all, though, I warm when she speaks, always in reverence, of being “Milt Licker’s daughter”.

On the grayest of winter days (like today) I sometimes fret in solitude. Kids out of town—no great agenda—I tend to get flat.

I’ve learned, though, that regardless of where the children be, regardless of what is or isn’t in my bank account, I’m a damn rich man. I’m grateful today, knowing full well that with family and friends—indeed friends like Alice, I’ll never walk alone. 

If you don’t believe me, go ask Alice.

One Response to “GO ASK ALICE”

  1. ABL says:

    OMG OMG OMG. I finally made the blog…..I am beaming….thank you 🙂

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