Last night I was talking to my oldest friend, Kim, while I was packing for our trip this weekend. I met Kim in the first grade, and we have been friends ever since. Both of us hung out with another girl who also wore glasses, and we called ourselves the Owls. Are you ready for our slogan? Wait for it . . . “Owls are wise and have big eyes.” Impressive, no? We played Barbies and watched The Real Ghostbusters and played in my treehouse.
When I moved from Charlotte after the third grade, we continued to communicate by writing tons and tons of letters. Looking at them now, it amazes me how much of my life I have on file just from reading her responses. I complained to her about my classmates, talked about the music I was listening to and asked her what she liked, we talked about what we were reading . . . our parents managed to arrange it so we could go and visit each other occasionally, and after I got my license, Charlotte was the first “far-away” place I was allowed to drive to visit her (although my parents insisted that I borrow my uncle’s big honking cell phone. Man, they just don’t make cell phones like they used to).
In college, we both got caught up in our own lives, but we were still in touch from time to time. Sometimes now she will mention things from college that I don’t actually know about, and I always wonder if I should admit I don’t know or just fill in from context clues. Regardless, we’ve been through bad boyfriends, my wedding (I told her recently that I don’t have lots of regrets in my life, but I do regret not having her as my maid of honor. But I did the best I could at the time, what can I say), weird parental issues, the angst of youth, her trip to Turkmenistan with the Peace Corps, and late-night emails. I am thankful to have her constant presence in my life, someone who has known me since I was six years old, and thankful that we’ve been rekindling things since she got back from Turkmenistan.
Last night we talked about work and Anna Karenina, our families and our friends, and laughed over the packing problems I was having. (Mike is not a big person, but his clothes are so much bigger than mine. I have these small t-shirts and these small jeans, and he has these big MAN CLOTHES. It was making us giggle). She teased me (as usual) about being the daughter her parents tried four times to have, and I teased her about how my dad says she’d better bring her boyfriend Sam for approval as soon as he gets back from Turkmenistan. We celebrated her recent acceptance to Chapel Hill for their Public Health program, and made plans to talk again in a couple of weeks. Whenever we talk, it ends up being for too long, but I can’t say I mind all that much.
I went to visit her close to her birthday in February, and it was so good to see her . . . but I didn’t really have the words to write about it. There’s just something about sitting across a table from someone who has known you for so long, drinking tea she brought back with her and dipping cookies in it, being really honest with one another . . . it’s like a warm embrace on a spring day.