sayonara to sushi

I had my last dinner in a while with one of my best friends tonight. He and I first met a few years back when he came on-board as a project manager at the trade association where I was managing web services. Our initial relationship was a rocky one; I found him a little insufferably arrogant and seemingly unconcerned about anything that didn’t specifically benefit his projects. I believe he was frustrated that I couldn’t always get to his needs as quickly as he’d like. Before long, though, we became very fast friends, despite our sometimes very different styles and political affiliations (though not necessarily differing political beliefs), and ten-year difference in our ages.
After I left the association and he followed a year later, we eventually ended up working together again. Interestingly, he was largely responsible for my landing my CTO position, and I in turn threw a lot of our outsourcing to his company, and eventually ended up hiring him full-time as director of business technology. In the end, he made out better than I did; when the CEO and board elected to lay off staff, they decided to keep experienced sales people. The tech and marketing departments were eliminated, but due to my friend’s background in sales, he was kept on. This did cause a short-term strain in our relationship, but we got past it.
He and his family had relocated to Georgia last summer, and he’s been telecommuting up here a few days every few weeks, so we’ve been able to continue to get together socially. A couple of weeks ago he treated me to a very nice dinner at a local restaurant (using a gift certificate he’d been given for some consulting he’d done), where we spent three hours discussing the nature, existence and qualities of free will and destiny, and how they interrelate (assisted, oddly, by only a single bottle of wine); sharing our lives and some pretty awesome desserts; and talking about a friend of his, living in Maine, he was trying to match up with me. Our time together is often cathartic for both of us: more than anyone else, I can sympathize with the conditions on his job and his relationship with his boss; I understand his professional aspirations and drive; he understands my feelings about my dad, having lost his to cancer just recently; etc.
A few days ago, though, he sent email asking if we could get together for our “last” supper. It turns out that the CEO has decided to cut costs even more by having my friend fly up and back on the same day every week, so that he’ll no longer have to purchase a hotel room (but rather have to put up with a 10-hour commute every Monday!). So we commisserated about the job over some great sushi. There’ll still be lunches, I suppose, on occasional Mondays. And it’s more of an incentive to make plans to get down to Georgia; I should anyway, since I’ve never yet seen the newest addition to his family — his first, born after they moved last year — in person.
But I’m still really going to miss our boys’ nights out.