I have known Chrystal for damn near fifteen years. She started caretaking for me in college and really never stopped. When I picture how a true friend behaves I always picture Chrystal. You need to move in January in the freezing cold? She’s there. You need a place to sleep because you’re convinced your dorm room is haunted? Yep she’s there. She’s graciously maneuvered me out of more scrapes than I can even count and she still hasn’t given up on me. She listens more than she speaks but when she does you will want to listen. She is guided by a kindness that is hard to reconcile with the rough world in which we live. She has the gentle wisdom of a soft heart that has been through it all and come out the other side with a smile intact. She is careful to consider all points of view before rendering judgment. She is loyal to her friends and willing to defend them at all costs. She is always willing to help. She forgives.
She was at the top of my call list when my mental health was at its weakest and I didn’t want to worry my family by admitting how bad it was. She would sit with me, sympathize and tell me it would get better. Sometimes knowing that I had someone to call was all that kept me on this planet. She wasn’t the only one but she was one of my key rescuers during the darkest times of my life. How do you repay a gift like that? At the time all I could do was not let my suicide be the thing that broke her heart.
If you add to this picture all the times I have been distant, unkind and a down right crazy biatch , you start to get a better picture of just how amazing she truly is. Just writing this I’ve decimated a box of tissues. I think I’ve spent more time crying than writing if I’m honest.
She is also a talented singer and actor, bringing to the stage or rehearsal room an emotional connection to her material that is riveting. She can belt with the best and she will floor you with her soft renditions. She and my sister and I sometimes sing together and we count on her technical prowess to carry the difficult part in the round or to provide the spontaneous harmony that never fails to knock my socks off.
Even in our Dungeons and Dragons adventures she is supporting my ass. Whenever the party splits up be it to cover more ground or divide tasks it seems she comes with me or you could say I go with her. Her swashbuckling cat has my halfling’s back all the way to the under mountain and back. We crack each other up, make trouble for ourselves and generally have a great time acting out the best parts of our friendship on a bigger canvas.
Here is the best part. I’m not the only one either. She had a lot of friends she takes care of in one way or another. To have one friend who you put up with regardless of their bullshit, no matter how batshit ugly crazy they get and love them is one thing. To treat everyone with that level of patience, care and respect is truly special. That is why Chrystal is my template for the true friend. She isn’t just a true friend to me. She is a true friend to all.