We probably met around the age of four in the small preschool inside the village where we both grew-up. In the school’s Christmas pageant of 1969 I was the narrator and he was one of the three kings. He lived several blocks from my house and in the summers I would often see him on the tennis courts playing with his brothers, as I was trying to cool off in the village swimming pool.

We went to the same university and because we came from the same neighborhood, we would often chat and shoot the breeze after classes. And then we graduated and went our separate ways. I would hear about him from time to time but it wasn’t until he had a major health scare that we reconnected again. A common friend of ours had sent a scary photograph of of my old friend and I thought that was it, he was going to die, and we weren’t going to see each other again.

But he didn’t, and we found each other once more, and we’ve been back in each other’s lives since, and it’s been wonderful. How wonderful to share the highs and lows, the losses and joys with someone whom you grew up with, someone whose known you all your life and with whom you have a shares history because you grew up in the same neighborhood, went to the same schools, knew the same people growing up, and even speaks the same dialect that you do!

Now we see each other in different cities wherever life takes us. We’ve seen each other through life’s joys and challenges; through breakups and meet-ups, in sickness and in health. We keep no secrets, there are no judgments. We accept each other warts and all. And now, as we are in the second half of life, when we can finally be true to ourselves, we look forward to more adventures together. And just like we did when we were children — I continue to be the narrator, sharing stories of our friendship with the world, and he, like one of the three kings, bearing the gift of his wonderful friendship that has enriched both our lives in so very many ways.

Kyoto in June

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