Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An old friend

I have this friend...

She and I have known each other since we were 12. We traversed the perils of junior high together, helping each other through those awkward years. I moved away in 9th grade and somehow out of all my friends from those days, she is the only one I kept in touch with. Not that it surprises me, really. She and I weren't friends because we hung out with the same crowd or always sat at the same table at lunch. In fact one of the peculiarities of our friendship is that we've rarely had the same friends in common. But we've always understood each other pretty well and enjoyed each other's company. I guess that would have to be true for a friendship to span two decades.

We got together today for a "playdate" (and I use that term loosely, because although our children are of an age, our playdates are more an excuse for the two of us to get together) and it made me think about our history. We used to pass notes to each other in class - folded up oragami style with a little tab labeled "pull" on one side. We'd rush home to talk to each other on the phone each afternoon, as if we hadn't been together half the day at school. I'd call her at precisely 3:08, a long standing joke between the two of us.

Her mom didn't like me much. I'm still not sure why, considering I was among the most well behaved and innocent kids, especially at that age. But my friend would hide in the downstairs bathroom to talk and her mom would set a timer outside the room to limit our talk time. Boy how we hated that! What do you mean I can't sit and talk on the phone for three hours? Things like that make me laugh now, and the irony that despite her mom's feelings for me back then, we're still friends after all these years is not lost on me.

When you're 13 and 14 years old, everything seems like a crisis. It is a relief to be beyond those hormone drenched years, in a place where I'm not so concerned with how I look or what clothes I'm wearing or who is going to sit with me at lunch. Where friendships aren't made or broken based on where you sit in class or who you hang out with after school. And it is also fun to still have someone around who remembers me when I was a skinny, awkward little girl, with big worries in my head and big dreams in my heart.


  1. You know what's funny? I have a friend like that too. My friend and I, though, it went beyond "passing" notes in class. I recall one particular class where we used to stand up, walk the note over to the other person, and then go back to our seats. Stealth, we were not.

    I think being friends with anyone for twenty years is almost unheard of, to anyone, and I'd like to think my friendship with my friend transcends anything "normal" about friendship for that reason alone. I'm not sure my friend and I, in junior high, ever would have anticipated standing up for each other in our weddings...or ever would have dreamed we'd face some of what we're facing now, as adults. But we did, and we are, and we did/are doing it together.

    Anyway, I'm sure your friend, too, remembers the silly hormone-drenched days as well as you do. Maybe she's not sure, either, why her mother hated you so much. Maybe her mother is just a piece of work more people need to have the pleasure of meeting to fully understand. Regardless, her mother doesn't know what she's missing out on because she never got to know the beautiful person you are inside and out.

    And I'm quite certain that, even if she may not tell you often enough (which of course I am just guessing here), your friend appreciates your two-decades friendship as much as you do. I know I appreciate *my* friend of twenty years more than words can say, most of the time.

    In fact, I haven't told my friend that I love her as much as I should have. Perhaps I'll go do that.