Girl Talk: On What It Means To Be A Real Friend

In fall of 2010, I went through maybe one of the lowest points in my life. I was dumped over IM by my live-in boyfriend (yes, that one) and due to a zillion circumstances outside of my control, my work life was in complete chaos. I walked around for weeks with a burning feeling in my stomach, unable to eat or sleep and in a total daze. I committed the cardinal sin of crying at work, and begged a doctor friend to write me a prescription for anxiety meds (I didn’t have health insurance at the time). I went to therapy. I bought self-help books on cognitive therapy to try and shake the shitty, negative thoughts that constantly ran through my head. I felt like a raw nerve with absolutely no hope of ever healing.

So I did the completely sensible thing, and bought a plane ticket to Barcelona.

I know it sounds kind of Eat, Pray, Love, but I swear, it was a stupid, rash decision made out of desperation. My friend Logan was there, and he invited me to come out and hang with him for a few days while he relaxed in between tours. Logan is a tour manager for various bands, and had just finished touring with a punk band that had played a bunch of squats around Europe. I am not a “squats” kind of girl, but Logan promised he had hooked up a free apartment for us, and I had nothing really keeping me from going, so I agreed.

I had met Logan the year before, via a mutual friend. His southern accent and wild stories of life as a roadie and tour manager and club bouncer were hilarious, so we kept in touch, and he’d occasionally ask me for suggestions or advice on his writing. We were not good friends — as in, we’d likely only spent three days total in each other’s company — but I was in such a vulnerable state, I figured I could suck up my bad vibes and try to have a good time. It didn’t exactly work out that way.

On the way to the airport, I had a fullon nervous breakdown. I was on the phone with my mom, who was trying to offer me sensible, logical remedies for my situation — the kind of solutions you absolutely do not want to hear when you’re an emotional wreck. It was pushing me deeper and deeper into despair and I couldn’t articulate anything but wrenching gnarled sobs. I’m sure the cab driver loved that. When I finally arrived, I considered turning around and heading straight home, but I was actually too tired and depressed to figure out how to do that, so I got on the plane instead.

When I got to Barcelona, Logan was there to greet me at the airport. He took me into the city and patiently sat with me while I cried and laid out my existential crisis. Because I’d been to the city before under better circumstances, I pictured it would magically bend to my needs. But Barcelona in November is just as miserable and cold as anywhere else. I hadn’t packed for this.

Still, Logan tried to cheer me up by bringing me to hang out with his friends (one of whom freakishly resembled Enrique Iglesias), took me to bars, out to eat falafel, to watch soccer matches. We got “chocolate wasted” which involved making chocolate fondue and dipping everything possible in it.  At night, we’d bundle ourselves up in sweatpants and warm blankets and watch bootlegged movies on his computer, and he’d gently spoon me until the Ambien I was taking kicked in, so I could sleep. Here’s the thing, Logan and I were probably the definition of Unlikely Friends — we don’t have any of the same life experiences, and don’t have the same taste in movies or music (though we both think Juggalos are amazing), but he managed to give me  the most wonderful gift: non-judgmental, unquestioning friendship. I was devastated and distraught, but I wasn’t alone.

On our last day, we went with some of his friends to Montserrat, which features a monastery tucked into the shadow of the mountain. As we were walking up the freezing passway to the basilica, Logan began talking with me about his own troubles with picking a path and settling down. A lightbulb went off: The way you get over your problems is to get outside yourself and help somebody else. Because in a way, it’s comforting to be reminded that your problems are not the center of the universe. Helping Logan figure out what he was going to do was one small step in me getting back on track.

That was more than two years ago.

I’m writing this because last night I saw Logan again for the first time in a while, and I was reminded that in most of us there is some inherent goodness and sweetness, but in a special few, there is a capacity for kindness that defies all logic or reason. It occasionally comes from the most unlikely places, but when it comes, it can reaffirm your path, your faith and your belief that true pure, selfless giving can exist. I will never forget what he did for me — simply by being — and I hope that one day I can repay that tenfold.