A Steadfast Friend
Brad enrolled at the college and signed up for the class. After two classes, I was hit with a brain-crushing bout of depression (no SSRIs in those days), like I hadn't experienced since I was five years old, when my mom slapped my dad around and he abandoned us.
The instructor's words were only foggy random sounds in my head; I could hear them, but they made no sense. Letters floated and swirled on the pages of class handouts and my textbook. I knew that continuing the class was futile. I had to withdraw or risk failing it.
When I broke the news to Brad, he gently reminded me that he was taking the course for my benefit and that it wasn't quite fair to him for me to drop out. His assertions were accurate, of course, but they couldn't change my brain chemistry. He finished the course alone, no doubt feeling abandoned by a friend, but he never mentioned the matter again. He also did not let it interfere with our work or our friendship.
There are many aspects of my personality that are not exactly endearing, but Brad always overlooked them, even though he was often on the receiving end of them. He is a patient and forgiving man. People who underestimate him risk losing out on a reliable friend and a skilled colleague.