Alfie's probably been my friend longer than anybody that I'm still in touch with. We met in the Spring of 2002 during our time on the Walt Disney World College Program. The WDWCP is basically slave labor in the guise of an internship that will "impress prospective employers after graduation." Riiiiight.
I went back to Texas that summer but Alfie stayed put. He got an apartment off Disney property, transferred to a new school, and started life anew. When I moved back to Orlando in the summer of 2003, I thought for sure we would just be the bestest friends that ever existed. And I guess we could have been. Unfortunately, I made the all too common mistake of putting my friends on the backburner once I began my relationship with TJ.
Throughout the next six years or so, Alfie and I managed to stay in touch, but we didn't hang out with any regularity. One of us was always busy. One of us would always forget to call. We would always promise to be better about it, but we never were.
Last fall, when it became obvious that TJ would be joining the Foreign Service, I invited Alfie to brunch. We were friendly as usual and slid back into familiar roles as was always the case during our sporadic encounters. Over the course of brunch we both apologized (again) for failing to do a proper job of staying in touch. I told Alfie about the Foreign Service, and about how there would be no more opportunities to try (or not try) to be better friends. We parted ways that day much as we always did, by promising to be better at keeping in touch.
The amazing thing is that, this time, we actually were. From that day forward, we did a fairly good job of hanging out a few times a month. We texted more often. We went to Busch Gardens together for Howl-o-Scream. TJ and I spent Christmas Eve with his family. When the time came to pack up and move to Virginia, I was completely at peace with how our friendship had played out. It wasn't as consistent as it could have been, but it was certainly as strong as I needed it to be.
Shortly after our movie, Alfie lost his job due to the struggling economy. In an odd move, he quickly accepted a job in Wisconsin. Yeah. Wisconsin. Upon hearing this news, there was a terrible moment in which I feared we would never see each other again. I mean, historically speaking, I suppose it was possible.
Shows what I know. I just wish that I had remembered to ask for some Wisconsin cheese.