I started crying watching The West Wing today because it reminded me of my best friend. He lives in another city now, but there is not a single person, family included, I've spent more of my life with. As time lurches forward, that title will fade and eventually give way to someone else, a wife or god-forbid, a co-worker. But for now, it's him. He is the reason I moved to Chicago to pursue acting, writing, and improv. This is his dream. He goaded me to follow him here and to make my life something more than a 9-5. I was along for his ride, but, as the queer dice of life rolled, it is I who ended up here. Alone.

And I've been feeling guilty. He pushed me because he knew what kind of man I was, and what I wanted my life to amount to. He knew the story I wanted to tell better than I did. And I am forever indebted to him for his diligence and faith in me. He nurtured my tiny seed of writing, watered it when it was fledgling, and kept it warm during the uncertain winters.

It was Tim that introduced me to Sorkin's work in Sports Night. We got drunk on Sorkin and ended up watching everything he'd ever written together. We took a trip once to New York to see his Broadway show, The Farnsworth Invention, about the invention of television. We left the theater in tears and didn't speak as we stumbled out. The silence lingered. Finally, Tim spoke, "This is what our lives need to be about." At the time I was considering moving to Seattle to write computer programs. But he wasn't trying to convince me. His tone was a matter of fact. Writing and making things was the only hope either of us had for ever being happy. I'll never forget that moment. It rings in my ears when I waver. It gives my feet rigidity when doubt buckles my knees. It is what tipped the scale.

One thing remains: my friend debt. I owe him the same steadfast encouragement. I feel like a fraud every time I land a writing gig. If they only knew about him, I'd be out of a job. But I'd gladly be unemployed to watch my best friend take up the mantle he deserves. I will be the friend that I was lucky enough to have.

Today I was reminded of how lucky I am to have met Tim and the indelible mark he's left on my life. If I could go back in time to my tiny motel-esque studio where we watched West Wing until 4AM, I wouldn't do anything different, just saddle up between my past self and him. I have no regrets. I wish nothing to be different. I wish it to repeat into infinity and for my life to eternally return to Tim Dufrisne.

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