Brothers from a different mother, Buddies to the bitter end... or so they liked to say and it wasn't far from the truth! They met at one of those free-form parties which neither had been invited to... A party where they were both come already lightly toasted and both trying, quite unsuccessfully, to pick up the same woman! They always said the other "cock blocked" him and that but for the other, he would have had her but truthfully she thought them both a little drunk and not at all her type. So when neither got the girl...who left early with that good looking guitarist they both hated, they would wind up spending the rest of the night commiserating on the loss, and from that a new friendship was sparked.
They were friends!
At first it was one of those "what-are-you-doing-tonight" friend things that guys do... If one or the other was bored, he would call the other and they would be off to a bar or one of their homes and a few beers later they would simply talk. They talked about their jobs, their favorite sports teams their favorite sports, which actress had the best tits and who had the best ass and which one they would like to fuck! And of course they also lied to each other about their sexual conquests and they lied about their being rejected by women and they lied about all the things that men wish were better than they are, and as men will sometimes do, the talk and the lies drew them closer!
They were friends in need
Still they were young and foolish and neither had a clue what they were doing with themselves and the future, that was until Frank got that a letter from the President cordially inviting him to come play with the US Army in South Vietnam... Henry did everything he could think of that night to cheer his scared and depressed friend up... and so, after a case or two of beer, why it seemed perfectly logical to both of them that they should enlist in the US Air Force right that very moment, after all thats the kind of things that buddies like them did!
They were friends indeed!
They managed to make it into and through Basic Training together but when they got their MOS they found themselves stationed on different sides of the country but friends to the end. They stayed in touch and they found ways to get together when they could... That's why they have the same funny looking tattoo on their shoulder... Gotten that one drunken night Mexico when they were both on leave... Their tattoo is a silly little thing, kinda blurry and splotchy looking but they both sport it proudly because they both have one. Even if they never tell the rest of the story about their also getting clap from that one-legged dollar whore, or their spending the rest of the night in jail together after that drunken brawl they started...
They were the best of friends
Still, the service did give them some modicum of guidance and they, eventually, as men will sometimes do, matured, well as much as men ever mature, and in time, both found love and both were married... First Frank found his Deborah, and with Henry by his side, both terribly hungover from the night before, he was married. Then Henry followed a year later when he found Alice and with Frank by his side. again both sporting the mother of all headaches! After all boys will be boys and so, Henry was married too.
They were friends to the end
Out of the service at last, they both found good work in the same town and of course, they settled in the same suburb, a block apart, where they went about their serious new careers as business men, as husbands and as fathers and through it all, their friendship deepened... They saw each other through the thick and the thin of it and there was a lot of both. Henry was there when Franks father died and Frank was there when Henry's mother died... They commiserated each other on the births of their children, and they of course commiserated with each other deeply about the lack of sex and sleep that comes with having kids! They were the kind of friend who helps the other to move without complaining more than necessary and of course, they helped each other with their cars... though Henry was always the one with more mechanical aptitude even if Frank made up for it by buying better tools!... Their wives were also close and their kids grew up as siblings, staying in one house or the other so often that it seemed some days Frank and Henry each had about twice as many kids as they could account for...
They were friends for life!
But something was changing and what it was, Henry couldn't quite lay his finger on.. Something was up with Frank! He looked pale and softer than normal and it almost looked like he had lost weight and it worried Henry! Oh sure they didn't spend as much time together as they had. What with their work and their families and so many places to be with them And sure, they had both grown a little portly, their hair thinning, their jowls a bit more "jowly." But they were still in pretty good shape for men their age, so The changed in Frank meant only one thing to Henry... Frank was bad sick, and worse, he was avoiding Henry and having to talk about it! Well that pissed Henry off big time! After all they had been through together! To think that Frank thought that Henry wasn't going to be there for him now! Henry would be there come hell or high water and if Frank lost his hair to chemo then Henry would shave his even before Frank had to!
They were friends to the death
So Henry did what only another man this close could have done... He asked him over on the context of needing help and once in the garage he confronted Frank! Henry was ready for anything and everything he could think of... But, he was not at all ready for what came next... Frank stammered and stuttered, Henry shoved another beer into his hands and pushed him harder and harder to fess up, and with that, the flood gates opened... Oh yes, Frank spilled his guts, which is what Henry had wanted but what he said left Henry stunned! His jaw on the floor...
They were friends in limbo
Frank was saying that he was a woman? At least that was what Henry thought he heard him say! No wait! Can't be! That doesn't make sense! What the heck is transgendered? You want to do what? You want to cut off your WHAT? Between men, the automatic response to a friend clearly going insane right in front of you was to make fun of it and try to get more beer into the insane one and Henry was trying his best with both but Frank was having none of it! It's real he said! I've been hiding it all my life! Henry though of his friend and all they had been through and then thought. You old fool, if you were hiding it, you were hiding it pretty darn good!
They were friends apart
It was obvious to Henry that Frank had clearly lost his fricking mind and his friend was not going to let him go there without a fight! He tried every tack he could! What about your wife? What about your kids? What about your job and the plant? What about your home? What about sex? What about your Mother? He went down the list and of course the big unspoken question was... what about us? The beers he opened went undrunk and the questions only generated more questions~!
They were friends who are lost
Henry went home that night feeling as lost as he did when his mother had died, maybe more so! He tossed all night and was in a foul mood the next day at work. Screaming first a his wife and then at work at some poor kid about a stupid mistake and later having to find and apologize to both when he realized what he had done and why.. Hey, Frank was his friend and he was obviously delusional but he was obviously in pain too and nothing in their lives had prepared Henry for this! He was lost with out a map but he would try to find a way to help his friend!
They were friends estranged
A week went by and then another... They had not been apart this long since the service but Henry wasn't pushing it right now! Maybe if he left it alone he thought, Frank would come to his senses! Oh but it was not to be! Right smack at the two week mark on a cloudy Saturday afternoon Frank came over... Well it looked sorta like Frank if Frank was trying to be funny and dress in drag but it wasn't funny and Frank being like this made Henry feel terribly uncomfortable! Henry was thankful he had been the one who had heard the knock in the hub-bub of the house and so it was he who met Frank at the door and invited him in, shocked but still managing to say, "Hey, Do you want a beer buddy?" To which Frank said no and my name is Helen not Frank or buddy... That sadly dear ones was the high point of their visit, which thankfully for both of them was short! What with all the kids, despite being yelled at constantly, finding reasons to run into the room and then back out giggling and Frank/Helen was not making it any easier with his wanting to talk, not about what this was doing to his family but about gender this and that and how his underwear now fit better and how hard it was to have to stand in line for the ladies room! All of which got a polite but very stunned "uh huh" and an "I bet" from Henry who wished with all his might that his friend would come to his senses then and there so they could laugh about this together! After all hadn't Franksuddnely turned into that same silly fop in a dress that they had both laughed about so many times before whenever a comedian on TV would do it?
They were friends we remember
Oh, the friendship didn't end suddenly or quickly... Henry, after all loved his friend or had loved his friend for most of their lives, so he tried... he tried to call him Helen, he tried to call him she and her but it was so stilted and so hard to do and he slipped often and "Helen" every time it happened would snap back that she was a her and her name was Helen and he did it so often, that Henry woke one night in a cold sweat with those words of Helen's ringing in his ears! Henry and Alice tried their best to help as best they could, first with the kids and Alice had been there for Deborah to cry on her shoulder more than once, but it was just not the same... Frank was not Frank, and this new person in his body called Helen was no one they would have sought out to befriend... So other than a bit of the sympathy they extended the night Deborah finally called it quits and took the kids and left him. Henry and Alice seemed to always find a reason to be busy when Helen would call. Oh it was not mean and they really did want to try and understand but life was busy and it was so hard to be around "Helen" these days as he was all bitter and he wanted to talk for hours on end about trans this and gender that and all of it making no sense to them.,.. They wanted their friend back and it was clear that was never going to happen...
They were friends we forgot
He did mean a lot to them once and so Frank is still there in their photo albums and he and his family still hold a place in their hearts. So they send card with cash and small gifts to his kids at their mile stone moments and they even went to Ben's graduation. Deborah, despite her having been a good friend those many years was said to moved to the east coast where she had family and they heard that she has since remarried but they don't really know. Besides it's been more than a year since they heard from "Helen" and he never really wanted to talk about her even then! So, all in all. they chalk it all up as a lost cause. Sure, every-so-often... like when they see some one on the telly or a magazine who is turning themselves into a woman or a man. They are known to say "we knew a bloke like that once" and they say we aught to call Helen but they never do and when the conversations always peters out once the prurient factor is satisfied, the subject changes. After all, conversations about the dead, even if they do walk the earth, have a way of getting lost in the more important business of the living...
They were friends no more...