I have often said that I don’t really have friends. I think I have viewed “friends” as being the kids you grew up around.
You live across the street, walk to school together, spend the summer competing for the most bruises and the latest curfew.
What was that curfew thing about anyway?
You wanted to be able to stay out later than your friend, but then once your friend’s mom made that last call to come in that carried a serious, “You better or else” tone to it, you were bored. That big pile of dirt you’d been hiding behind as the sun went down and you milked those last few minutes of play time, suddenly seemed like nothing more than a big pile of dirt. The sounds of summer became just a little bit scary as you sat in the shadows of the dirt pile…
Was that a branch breaking under the weight of a stranger’s step?
What was that hiss?
Did something crack?
Sometimes you were lucky because your mom would call for you and you’d save face.
I’m just going in ’cause my mom is calling. I could stay out here if I really wanted to.
The friend I had with the early curfew?
Lost. We drifted apart when I moved in middle school.
She’s gone to the same place all my other middle school friends have gone.
I can remember that time so clearly. Struggling between tomboy and boy-crazy.
Perhaps the memories are even sweeter for not having been blurred with the angst of high school.
My high school friends?
They were lost before high school ended. My first three years of high school were the all american storybook- sports, school newspaper & yearbook, more sports and general rule following (for the most part) and innocuous sleepovers. I think some people remain friends through high school, on to college, and some beyond. I went through a shift the summer after my junior year. By graduation my “best friend” was pointedly inviting anyone within a 6″ (yes six inches, it was quite comical) radius of me to her house for a party. I was not invited. After school specials have always been so cheesey because unless you are actually living in that high school moment, the things that occur are so totally preposterous they cannot possibly be accepted as real.
Yes, but no lasting friendships.
So, it has been easy to say, “Ah, I don’t really have a lot of friends.”
I have learned in the last few weeks that I have been very wrong.
I have friends.
I, in fact, have a lot of friends.
And you know what else?
They are really cool people.
I have a friend in London. She doesn’t live there.
Nope. She has accepted a job, after a sobering experience of being wooed and pursued, then hired and then fired all in the matter of a couple of weeks.
So, there she is, being told,
“Ya know what? On second thought, you, ah, you just don’t have the right vibe. Ya, we just aren’t feeling it. No hard feelings though. Here’s two weeks pay, don’t let the door smack you in the ass on your way out.”
And now? She’s in London. She’s working, playing and just generally coming to realize that the universe will lift you up, drop you down, lift you up again and then show you that it all happened for a reason. I am lucky enough to have her writing to me, to share her stories. Some letters are breathless and optimistic, others are sad. She has a lot going on and it is such an honor to be included in this incredible time of endings and new beginnings. Such an honor to be her friend.
I have another friend. She is in Brooklyn. We met at WTF. When I left theatre in 2002, she was just beginning to really make things happen for herself in the city. She has been working tirelessly ever since and is now on the cusp of achieving a toe hold at the top of her field.
When Harry Met Sally
Childhood next door neighbor all grown up.
Toss in a little Sleepless in Seattle – He’s in NM, she is in NYC.
Fast forward – she’s talking grad school outside of NYC.
“I want the relationship. I want kids. I want a baby laughing in the background.”
So from this friend I hear about love happening, priorities shifting. About getting to the top and realizing that she did a damn good job getting there and that it is ok to go after what she wants. She wants the happy ending. She is the person who so eloquently described at our wedding the moment when she knew Sean and I were heading for a happy ending. She’ll have hers, and as her friend, I’ll get to be there to weep tears of joy for her.
Then there are my couple friends. New parents. New babies. Carter and Sebastien.
Pregnancies, parenting fears, pride, joy, awe.
My friends from work. Cheering me on at the office and at special events. Teasing me with, “Oh young one”.
Lifting me up on days when I feel my heart will break from leaving Briar.
Business friends. Sean’s partner, Derek, his wife Paula. It’s not always easy, but the bond of “being in the trenches together” – we have worked hard and said kind and biting things to one another. Travelled from strangers, to co-workers, to partners and friends.
My Yakima people. My family, my friends, my memories. My sister. My mom. My grandfather. My Steve. My techies and my Foudnation pals.
And of course there is Sean. My friend. My cheerleader. My critic and my defender. My coach. My guide. My husband and my daughter’s dad. My lover and my dearest friend.
I don’t know quite when my life became so rich with friends. We build these lives for ourselves, picking up ittle bits that will come with us as we move from town to town and job to job. A co-worker here, a friend there. Before you know it you have people coming from out of town, emails from Sout Africa, invites to the Berkshires, get togethers on holidays.
You realize – no,
I realize that my friends are people that are with me every day in the stories I tell, the words that I use and the music that I listen to. They are with me as I sit on my front porch remembering times we have shared. I will never have friends that I spend every 2nd Tuesday with and who will be able to talk about the crotchety swiss neighbor on Onyx Street, but I will have friends who are no less significant for having come in to my life at whatever time the universe decided to “drop them” in my lap.
I am so grateful as I sit here tonight and reflect on the many people who are a part of my life.
A special; “Hello” and “I love you” to Anna and Tet.
And an 11:11 kiss to my Sean.