On the Wednesday before Halloween five years ago, a new friend and I headed off for a little road trip. Little did we know our trip would involve a flat tire and being stuck on the side of a mountaintop road for the better part of six hours. Overnight.
I met Nolan the same way I met Scotty, in a local internet chat room. Though, to be honest, Nolan and I didn’t chat much. When I finally met Nolan in person, it was in this weird period of time where we were both visiting our significant others and contemplating whether or not to move to be with them.
Since Nolan’s girlfriend and Scotty both worked, he and I often spent our days chatting while looking into relocating. We talked about everything under the sun, though much of our conversations often centered around food. Nolan is a great cook, and I was just starting to consider myself as more than just an “okay” cook. We shared recipes, talked about our favorite chefs, and day dreamed of one day opening a restaurant and writing our own cookbooks.
So on this Wednesday before Halloween, Nolan and I decided to take a road trip together to pick up a few things from our respective home towns to facilitate our moves to this new city. This trip took us damn near all over our great state and just as we were nearing the homestretch, we got a flat tire. On the top of a mountain. In the snow. In the middle of the night.
The car was borrowed, the tools didn’t fit the wheels, we were both dressed for valley weather, and not the snow. I had no cell reception and his battery was dead. We sat huddled outside an abandoned mountain resort office, using the outdoor outlet to plug in his phone so we could call for help. Our help was coming from nearly 3 1/2 hours away, and so we huddled in our respective front seats, occasionally turning on the car for heat. To keep ourselves from going crazy, or possibly giving way to hypothermia, we munched on junk food and talked. Somewhere around 4:00 am, we fell into hysterics. We joked and laughed about things which made no sense. We crafted the nicknames “Nubs and Stubs.”
Most of all, we kept each other sane. And somewhere between our toes going numb and all the Mountain Dew and Redvines, I realized that this guy had worked his way into my heart. I knew no matter what happened, he would always be my best friend.
Help arrived and we got the tire changed. We drove the rest of the way back to our new city, arriving nearly exactly 24 hours after we had left. We were cold, tired, crashing from a sugar overload, and more than a little angry at circumstances. But we had a new friend in each other, and memories to bind us.
Five years later Nolan (aka Nubs) is still my best friend, my adopted brother. We still laugh about that night stuck on the side of the mountain road, though others don’t seem to see the humor we do. Guess you had to be there.
Nolan is family. He will be the one who officiates mine and Scotty’s wedding next summer, and he’s the one I turn to always. There are many who don’t understand our relationship. Many who think men and women can’t be friends without some sort of romantic ish. There are many who swear we’re leading some sort of secret affair behind Scotty’s back. Those people? I feel sorry for them. How sad it must be to not have friends you count as family, no matter their gender. And how horrible it must be to be so mistrusting of those around you. Scotty is more than fine with mine and Nolan’s friendship, he also considers Nolan family. Nolan’s girlfriend, Court (NOT the one from five years ago), is also more than okay with our relationship. She is family. I call her my sister-in-law, and know I can turn to her for anything.
Nubs and Court have helped us move three separate times. They come to see Scotty play, and celebrate birthdays with us. We celebrate each others’ kiddos and life moments. They live about an hour away, and sometimes we don’t see each other for months, but it doesn’t change that we are all the very best of framily.
And to think, it all started on the side of a mountaintop with a flat tire.