Upon waking this morning, I roll over and hit play on my iPod.. and there is U2. “Where The Streets Have No Name”. First track off The Joshua Tree, released March 9, 1987. This album is very dear to my heart because of my best friend, John Thorne Eubanks. John called me a couple of days after this album was released and said to get to his house ASAP because I had to hear something. John majored in music while in college and we shared a passion for music. We were constantly listening or talking about music. He immediately fell in love with this album, and this song in particular. It remained a favorite of his for many years.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever told this story before but here goes. I met John when I was in the eighth grade. I was 13 or 14 years old. I was in school, just out of my band class and was terribly upset at my band teacher. (see I love Rock N Roll) In tears, I called home looking for my mother. With the most fortunate luck, John answered the phone at my house. (I didn’t know John but he knew who I was because he was a close friend of my stepfather and had just gotten to my house for a week’s vacation.) To make this story a bit shorter, John got me calmed down and said that he would help me out when I got home from school. That was the beginning of a lifetime friendship, a bond only broken by death.
John was 12 years older than me but that never made any difference to us. We became close friends and our relationship evolved into the best and longest friendship I’ve ever had. We were there with each other during marriages, divorces, birth of our children and every other imaginable occasion. We lived in a small town with some small-minded people who said there was no way this could be just a friendship. How wrong they were. Never for one moment was there any romantic or sexual feeling for either of us. Just a deep abiding love for a friend. My husband and his wife never questioned our friendship, nether set of parents did either. There was a time when we were both single at the same time but still, never any question or desire to move into a romantic relationship. I think this finally put to rest the rumors that always floated around.
John sat beside me and held my hand when I had the sonogram when I was pregnant with my firstborn. He was the first to know I was pregnant with my second child. John nursed me back to health when I had my hysterectomy. I literally stayed with him for three weeks while I recovered. John would go shopping with me and tell me not to buy that dress because the fit was all wrong. I would run to him when my husband and I would have an argument and he would calmly listen to my side, then tell me to stop being a bitch and go home and apologize because I was the one wrong. John pulled no punches with me, was brutally honest and made me toe the line. He knew every one of my secrets, things no one else knew. He knew all my dreams and goals and pushed me to make sure I reached them. Emotionally I was closer to John than anyone else. He was a true soul mate.
This wasn’t a one-sided friendship. I was with him when he married. He asked me to be his best man and was so disappointed when his wife didn’t understand and said no way. I was with him when he had his first heart attack and the triple bypass at the age of 35. I held his hand in the dark while he talked of his fears of dying. I held him in my arms several years later while he cried at finding out that he wasn’t the biological father of his daughter. I held his head while he puked his toenails up from being so sick with a stomach virus. I got up out of bed at 3:00 in the morning to drive to his house and pick buckshot out of his arm and chest from a shooting accident at a local bar. Getting the picture yet? We were there for each other, no questions asked, 24/7/365. We would go to the movies together, grab lunch together, everything that two best friends would do together. Only difference was that I was a woman and he was a man. And a “manly man” at that. There wasn’t anything that we wouldn’t do for each other. I didn’t know where I ended and he began.
I lost John on March 1, 1999. He died of a massive heart attack. He was 53, the same age I am today. We talked many times about this possibility, we both knew it could happen at anytime. And when it happened, a part of me died too and I have yet to recover. So, as I sit here in my office this evening, listening again to his favorite song, tears streaming silently down my face, I’m sending my love to him, where the streets have no name.
I wanna run, I want to hide
I wanna tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name
We are days away from Thanksgiving, another special time that John and I shared and again John, I’m so thankful for the years that we had together. Thankful for your never-ending love, your total acceptance of me, the patience you had for me, the unquestionable loyalty, the devotion and support you gave so freely to me. The laughs and tears we shared live on in my heart today. I deeply regret that our time was over too soon, 29 years was not nearly enough.
Rest in peace, my friend… I will never forget.