I had known him for years. Our friendship was an acquaintanceship that remained on the surface. Never having gone deep, it never drifted toward the hazards the deep waters hide: the differences that most truly define and distinguish us, but also oppose us to others. And so when he died I could not bring to mind a false word, a sarcastic expression, a competitive tension, or a joke that hid a jab. Not one unpleasant memory sullied my recollection.
Such superficial friendships are perhaps perfect for an imperfect world in which there is more of seeming than of being. We do well to value the surfaces in a world of surfaces. The surfaces are sure; the depths are dubious. On life's surface those who meant little but brighten memory count for more than those who meant more but haunt and disturb from a past their presence makes dark.