this goodbye bullshit is bullshit

Well, tonight just kicked me in the teeth. Didn't plan on any more posts before I leave but the feels are absolutely throttling me, so I need to write.

Went for a last dinner with Kenny and Alfie, and even though we decided that I will actually stay there Thursday night before I fly out Friday, I am already feeling it so hard. Oof.

I've known Kenny a couple years longer than I've known Alfie. I was with them on one of their earliest dates, which fell on a Halloween (the year I was Susie Bishop, and our friend Ben made me that amazing costume), and I got to watch Kenny buy his first house which Alfie eventually moved into--and then they finally got married.

They are both my dear friends, but I'm closer to Kenny and have a few dozen more memories on the books with him. He is special to me in a way no one else is. Kenny is the most exquisitely gentle hearted soul I have ever known. Fuck. I am crying trying to get this out. And I will be channeling all of this into a letter just for him, that I will give him before I go. But you should know, too, because a heart like his needs to be celebrated.

My very first interaction with Kenny was while I was still married. Mike and I kept hearing a dog crying in the apartment below us, all day. We left a very polite note on his door saying we were sympathetic dog owners/lovers, and that he might not be aware that his pup was in distress. In return we got a very lovely long and immaculately printed letter explaining that he was temporarily dogsitting, and he was so terribly sorry for the noise etc etc. Along with the note was a bottle of wine. Suffice to say I was smitten before I even met him, which I did at a party in the building a few weeks later. 

At this party, Kenny came up to me to compliment my hair. A girlfriend who was my stylist back then had asked if she could practice applying, maintaining, and ultimately removing extensions on me--for free. (That's about $1200 worth of product and service I got to enjoy for a few years. It was amazing.) I immediately confessed they were extensions, at which he exclaimed and politely asked if he could touch them.

So began an eleven year best friendship with someone who also happened to be a Beverly Hills hair stylist, and who would take over doing my cuts, color, and Brazilian blowouts for the next decade usually free and dirt cheap on those occasions he would actually let me pay.

I have never claimed to deserve my blessings.

The wild and crazy adventures I have had with Kenny rival those I've had with anyone--and that's saying a lot. So many stupidly fun nights out dancing at the gay bars; one time I even won a dance contest, at MJ's (before it closed down). Foam parties. Costume parties. Ice skating in costumes. Trespassing on the roof to hoist a pair of my underwear up the building's flagpole (seriously). Akbar in Los Feliz, the night I learned my limitations with tequila. Gorgeous dinner after gorgeous dinner. Summertramp. Disneyland (on shrooms). Drag shows. House (apartment) parties. Concerts. And oh god, all the nights in West Hollywood. The Abbey. Mickey's. The annual Red Dress Party. Day drinking at The Standard. Themed holiday parties at his house. 

And housed inside that wild, spontaneous, fun-loving soul is a kindness and a sense of compassion you can't imagine. Kenny is the one I can always trust to *get it*. He always says the right thing, when I am hurting and low. He always understands. He is just as sensitive as me, and I can tell him any experience of mine--romantic, social, professional--and he'll come to the exact same conclusions about it as me. He's always in my corner, and is the most fiercely loyal friend I have. The minute a guy hurts me, to Kenny they are dead. He tolerates absolutely no bullshit from the men in my life. Loyalty like that, a protective, brotherly spirit like that? To me it is gold. 

And we have never, ever, not once had any kind of disagreement or tension over anything. Never. He is the only close friend I can say that about. That's an incredible thing, and it's all him. He's just so grounded and effortlessly chill, has his head and his values so straight. He is so authentic and genuine, and those qualities have made him such a treasured touchstone in my life all these years.

So, why this big essay for him, and not for Steve the other day? Well, Steve travels a lot for his work. I know I will see Steve. But Kenny is pretty well planted here in LA. And though the other night at Brazilian BBQ we all pledged that since we're grownups, we can make the effort to fly out and visit one another--I don't know how often that will happen. Kenny is a true homebody. 

Anyway. I love him so much. It's punching a hole in me to think of not seeing his happy smile and hearing his laughter every few weeks. I put together some photos from the past decade+ of my friendship with him, and with him and Alfie together. See for yourself how lucky I have been:

And just for fun, here are a couple of photos I took of his dogs Boris and Magda (both now passed), back when I still had my Nikon. Absolute loves, both of them. People's dogs truly are the purest reflections of their owners.