I first met Nic when I was 14 years old. Although it was a brief encounter, we immediately became best of friends.
Nic was everything that I wasn’t. Nic was cool while I was shy and awkward. He was worldly while I was naïve. He was dangerous while I was merely boring. Nic was welcomed into every social event of my young life and was seen as the ideal companion in any situation. Throughout most of my young adult circumstances, Nic was by my side. He was there at my first love, my first heartache, my high school successes and my many high school failures. Nic was my constant companion during my young marriage, through the trauma of being drafted, during the loneliness of my military years and consoled me during my heart-breaking divorce.
Into my adult life with a new wife, a new family, new jobs and constant challenges, Nic never failed in his constancy and support. Even as his endless companionship started to gradually become a burden in my life, the satisfaction and peace Nic brought to my life was undeniable and sustained me through the many problems I encountered.
He helped me through job changes, family deaths and the inevitable marital issues that arrive in any marriage. Nic helped me celebrate the birth of my children and the many joys in my life. Sadly, as my life moved on, and I became more and more secure in my life and myself, I needed Nic less and less. He became an embarrassment to me. My family constantly opposed Nic and even society turned its back on him. He was no longer socially accepted. Nic was now a pariah, an outcast. Society, who once lauded Nic as the pinnacle of accepted behavior, now loathed him as a problem at best, and a deadly menace at worse.
Five years ago, I turned my back on Nic and made him unwelcome in my life. He was now to be avoided and not embraced as before. Nic is no longer a friend of mine. He is no longer wanted in my social circle nor in my personal life. Good riddance! But still, in the wee hours of the night, as my beloved family sleeps in the home that I have spent my life making comfortable, I still sometimes lie awake and think how I miss Nic.
(Author’s note: For fortyseven years, I smoked between 1½ and 2 packs of cigarettes a day. Only blind luck and God’s blessings have left me with no ill effects from this life-long stupidity.)