We met at church — I remember that much, but little else about how she came into my life. At 14 years of age, one doesn't know to pay attention to certain deceivingly inconsequential events, but that giggling girl there on the other side of the room was destined to stay for a lifetime.
We rode four-wheelers at the river and drove the beach with windows down, sandy hair and loud music flying crazy.
She is still the only person on earth I've shared a single bed with — well, aside from a night or two with my hospitalized two-year-old.
I wore her dress to the funeral home the night before we buried Jeff. Her gesture was not unlike my own desire to clothe my brother. She was newly married to Jeff's best friend, whom she was in love with since the beginning of time. Their bond to each other was another lash layered and entangled around my heart.
The relationships in which we have the most confidence are the first to suffer our neglect, and so we have stayed in poor touch through the years. Our
lives have crossed only a few times after high school graduation. We
know each other’s children only from Christmas card pictures.
But her voice is the same these 35 years later, and when I hear it, I'm not talking with a stranger. We are right there, still caught up to our hearts in knowing the other.
We talk of heartache, loss, failures and success. What makes us happy, worries
us, and demands our time. We talk menopause, college kids, and
husbands who were once teammates. We broach aging parents and confide
that we've both mostly lost touch with our coastal hometown and
don’t much care.
Four days later, I'm still thinking of her, haunted in the best way by the cliché of friendships with distance yet no distance at all. It's a serendipitous delight.
This woman still gets me, even though neither of us is the girl we were then, and we haven't been privy to the process that made us who we've become since. We knew each other young, and somehow, three years in the tumultuous lives of high school girls was enough.
Photo by Cheryl Holt, via Pixabay, used with permission under the CreativeCommons License.