Broderick has been like another brother to me for years. Or at least that's how we act around each other-bickering, arguing, threatening various tortures even though deep down we would never dare brandish a burning hot rusty railroad spike at one another. He's the best friend I love to hate, who drives me crazy with his insufferable… Broderick-ness. Who will hopefully remain in my life for a long time to come.

My other close friends don't seem to mind when I suddenly hug them in public and announce that I love them. Doing so is just one of my regular habits, and they're used to it. After all, I do love my friends, and I'm not afraid or ashamed to say so. But Broderick, who I've squabbled, teased, and competed with more than anyone, continually refuses to acknowledge my affections-my assumption is that that's just the way he is.

Even though we don't spend large amounts of time together, besides talking on the phone (he's the only one of my friends that actually calls me back when he says he will), I like to imagine that I know Broderick better than most others. Whether or not that's a truth or just one of my delusions, may be revealed in time. He knows me inside out, of that I'm certain, and puts up with me no matter what-as if he accepts my flaws for the sake of my more positive characteristics. I know that I can be myself around him, and say exactly what's on my mind, without worrying about his judging me. Since he knows me so well, he can't. There is a literal plethora of things he could use against me, when we argue over trifles, that could inflict serious emotional damage should he choose to take advantage of them-but he doesn't. The vice versa is true, as well. We trust each other not to go too far with our insults.

It must be some part of his unique character, in that no matter what kind of temperament I'm in, how angry I am at the world in general, he won't be affected in the least. The day I, while driving him home, crashed my beautiful blue 1987 Plymouth Caravelle in the intersection of State Street and Cayadutta, his reaction was the complete opposite of mine. As we stood there in the street, next to my crunched-up car, in a complete whiteout, waiting for the police to come, he was disgustingly calm. I panicked, cursing my ridiculous luck while he, instead of joining the insanity, remained composed as ever. Over and over he repeated to me, in that annoying, even monotone of his, "It's okay, it's just a car, it'll be all right."

I know that, if it were any of my other friends, I wouldn't have been the only one crying. None of them can offer me quite the same amount of emotional support as he does in such situations.

We are your stereotypical "good kids," with our weekend entertainment comprised of books, movies, and video games (that I always lose). Both of us, along with the rest of our friends, always disparaged the teens who gave the rest of us a bad name by getting high and hammered every weekend. I was under the impression that none of us would be caught dead taking part in such destructive behavior. Personally, I have a vendetta against the entire concept of alcohol, and they respected my feelings on the subject. Or so I thought.

But during one of the last weeks of summer this year, a few of my older friends decided to become hypocrites, and get raving drunk, with potentially disastrous consequences that they conveniently decided to ignore at the time. When I found out about the whole affair, as I am often apt to do, I was upset, to say the least. Talking to my mom didn't make me feel any better. Nor did confronting the perpetrators themselves help to ease my over-worried mind. For the most part, despite my (I thought) clear arguments and insistence that I still loved them no matter what, they seemed to ignore all that I had to say. So what did I do?

I called Broderick.

The conversation went as follows: "Do you ever think you'll get smashed while in high school?"

"Nope," he replied.

"What about in college?" I asked. "When everyone else around you is doing it?"

"Nope."

"I love you."

"Yeah."

And thus my troubled mind was eased. Not only by his unwavering determination to stand by his convictions, but also by the way he didn't reject my last statement.

Perhaps one thing I'll always be grateful to him for, is what took place another day this past summer. I had my mind set on going to the movies to see "Windtalkers". My out-of-town boyfriend at the time was busy with his out-of-town buddies, and my younger friends weren't into gory war movies the way I was. With the intent to just discuss my disappointment until I got it all out of my system, I called Broderick on the phone and explained my huge dilemma. He said, quote, "Do you want to go?"

Surprised at his willingness to do something for me, I asked, "With you?"

Upon absorbing his affirmative answer, "Okay."

So, the two of us went, as friends of course, since ours was generally a genderless friendship. But I couldn't get over the fact that Broderick, who sometimes lives to drive me crazy, paid money to get into a movie he had no desire to watch, and spent time that could otherwise have been used for his own benefit, just to make me happy. That has to prove something, at the very least that he can deign to put up with me for three hours at a time.

Even when I know he'll just brush me off like he always does, I still like to run up to him, throw my arms around him and announce, "I love you, Broderick!"

The last time I did that, he replied, "Ah. That's good."

[A/N: Don't you just love the little sucker?]