Friday, December 5, 2008
I met her on a cold day in 1992 as I was walking down the street. Her youngest child had just taken a tumble in the yard of a neighbor and we exchanged a quick remark and look. I don't remember the exact remark, but I'm sure it was sarcastic as we both laughed. I felt a zing.....an instant connection.......like our souls were already friends.
The next 3 years were filled with lots and lots of laughs, furniture rearranging, shopping, eating out and sitting in the driveways until we moved inside to play Pictionary and drink margaritas with our husbands. Many Friday nights were spent this way, while our kids played hard in the designated playrooms of whoever's house we landed in. Our husbands got along and our kids were like siblings. There was a larger group of neighborhood families that got together...but we were the best of friends.
But it was more than that. Much more than that. She was the little sister I had always begged my mother to have. She was Lucy to me, Ethel. She shared the same scar where we had been separated at birth. She made me laugh harder than I can ever remember laughing. And then she made me cry harder than I have ever cried........when she told me they were moving to Atlanta. Neither of us realized how good we had it until it ended. So the 3 years of living with my best friend down the street was over.
For months after they moved away, Chuck and I didn't know what to do with our weekends. There was a huge hole...something big missing. It took a long time to fill that up with other things. It was like a death. And I was grieving.
Oh, we promised to stay in touch and that we would always be best friends and blah, blah, blah. And our friendship does still exist. But it's in memory only. In our hearts only. In a once year birthday and Christmas gift only. In a rare phone call now and then. In a hand written card maybe every couple of years. Because while we still love each other as great friends do, we live too far apart and our daily lives have come between us. She was my daily life and that was the great part about our friendship. I could walk over to her house and be there in less than a minute.
The very fact that I met the best friend of my life when I was almost 35 gives me hope that life is full of surprises and another great friend could be out there, I just haven't met her yet. And while I had to lose her (to Atlanta) I wouldn't trade those 3 years for a trillion dollars. She will always be my friend but the years have flown by while raising kids and all those trips we should have taken to see each other just never quite happened. What I wouldn't give to have her down the street again.
Her name is Debbie and she sent me a package this week for my birthday. Thank you Debbie. For this "too cute" bag with my name on it. And for your lasting friendship that remains one of my greatest treasures.