Left screen, I’m going over the bachelor party footage. We’re recovering from a night of drinking over bacon and eggs in a high-corner wide-angle shot. Right screen, I’m talking to Aaron on Messenger.
Aaron: bro, you know I love you
Aaron: like for real
Aaron: no shit
Jeff: thanks man, i love you too
Aaron: no ‘you’re my bro’ shit
Aaron: the real deal
“No ‘You’re my bro’ shit”, he says. Bro. The word we sometimes use to remind each other that we’re family. Nothing emasculates some like the “l” word, but we’re passed that.
“you know I love you”. He was first to say it this time, and it catalyzes the tears down my face.
The video’s still playing. In it we’re ebullient, fraternizing, and I can’t help but laugh along too.
I remember another time, about three years ago, when I broke down after dealing with my mom and her incorrigible ways. I rolled a joint and smoked it as soon as I got off the phone. As the weed went to my brain, my mood evened out. I was numb to the pain but the tears didn’t stop, like a physical reflex.
Life is the same way. It’s never black and white, and there’s no absolute right or wrong. There are grey areas, points of passion between pleasure and pain.
Even crying from joy is an enigmatic microcosm of such an idea. I remember doing so only one other time, at the end of grade 7, during the final auditions for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Out of 10 schools, we were competing to spend the summer singing on stage with Donny Osmond. When they announced the name of our school we jumped out of our seats in cheer, but I could feel my face grimace from the emotion, tears filling up my eyes. It’s as if you’re overtaken by sadness that you’ll never feel as happy again.
Like yin and yang, one doesn’t exist without the other, and often they exist at once.