So, whats 30 odd years between friends?
She and I go back to grade 10, just after I moved up from California. We fell in love with the same boy, whom she won, and we shared deep conversations over a plate of fries, coffee and Craven M cigarettes when cutting classes in high school. We loved the same music and the love for writing. We both kept journals. She wrote beautiful poems and songs that she sang with her guitar. We would light candles in her room and delve into the meaning of relationships, spirituality, parents, and becoming women. Oh the drama.
We were like sisters. We were best friends.
But I lost her after high school. I say I lost her because I don’t remember her leaving grade 12 earlier than the rest of us and moving to Manitoba to attend University. I wasn’t paying attention, she left my life and I didn’t blink.
Which leaves me to think what kind of friend was I?
I bumped into her about 8 years later when she moved back to Vancouver Island, she was married and pregnant and I already had a 5 year old and was a single parent. I was awkward – both of us were, but nothing came of it- although we were happy to see each other no plans were made to get together.
After several more years passed I began to think of her, wanted to see if I could find her again but because of my lame inattention I couldn’t remember her married last name. So I searched FB using her maiden name – maybe she kept it- but nothing appeared. I searched our common FB friends from high school to see if she came up, not there either.
Fly ahead to 2015 I am sitting in my hairdressers chair while my color is processing, I am looking through my FB and the list of “people you may know” came up which I lazily scrolled through and suddenly there she was. I “friended” her immediately and anxiously awaited her response.
We were so happy to reconnect!
Finally able to exchange phone numbers and talking with her I discovered she had been working for the past 8 years a mere 3 blocks away from the waterfront harbour I crossed each day but lived south island, driving the 40 minutes. I drove to work too so that maybe explains us missing each other.
Well. But how were we to know? She had lost track of me too.
So close but so far. She had been on FB for a year but kept a very low profile, not reaching out to our mutual high school friends until 2015. She didn’t know my married name either.
We’ve gotten together 4 times since for lunch and each time we slip back to essentially where we left off. From the time we parted. Bringing each other up through the missing years. That boy she loved in grade 10 nearly evolved to marriage after high school but ended badly, I had no idea.
And the thought that wouldn’t lie still was “I wasn’t there for you.” Through your eventual marriage, childbirth, divorce, the loss of your parents whom I remember, all the heartbreaks, and all breakthroughs.
But then neither was she there for me. We lost out on so much by losing each other. This isn’t the first time I’ve let friendships from my past slip away, and sadly those can never resurface in my life again, finding out too late that illness took them.
That’s how much I suck at friendship. No, Sucked.
I want to be there now. And yes people change, but we found that we still have that common ground of the unconventional, the controversial, the deep big questions, now approached from a mature perspective and it’s fascinating.
So we engineer a bridge each time we meet, attentive to bringing to the table the necessary tools to construct a way to cross the rushing waters that have carved through our lives. To meet in the middle and maybe with the blessings of those two 16 year old girls walk a new road together now as women.