2008-08-19

Best Friends

It's the dead of summer.
For peeps who don't live in Tucson, that means lots of mosquitoes, waking up at 90 degrees, swollen legs and feet from being hot all the time, not wanting to eat anything but cereal and ice cream (together if you're fat like me).

I'm also blowing all my writing time on Facebook. A friend who is almost officially formerly a boyfriend had recommended Facebook to me, saying that he'd had this night of totally emotional online reunionizing with his 1987 high school class. I checked it out for myself and although it was a little slow to build, I have been walking in my own memories, not of high school but of my very earliest elementary school years.

I have been emailing with the girls with whom I went to pre-school in the basement of the Presbyterian Church in Carbondale, IL. One is married to a man 17 years older than us. One had her first baby 2 weeks ago. One is an activist in a liberal, beer loving state and one has embraced her Judaism. It's amazing, how unique and interesting we all are. The one who was my very best friend for many, many years is the one who's the most surprising.

I think we're mutually blown away by each other and by the out-of-prediction directions our lives have gone. I would never have believed she was going to be a nurse if you had told me that when we were 10. And she would never have thought I would live in Arizona, living in the same cut-offs every day for more days than I need to name here.

She made a comment to me, that she was talking about me a few weeks ago to someone I wouldn't know and she was saying how she felt like I was still in her life.

She mentined this to me and said it was corny and that she would totally understand if I thought she was crazy.

But I don't at all.
I think of all the connectivity we had together, all the other kids we bossed around (not cool), all the times we pretended to be prairie girls and blew out the lamps instead of turning them off for our regular Friday sleep-overs, all the books we sat in her room reading between school and girl scouts. Yeah. We hung out and read. I think of the night we were at home in her parents' house and we scared the crap out of ourselves so we armed ourselves with Windex and a kitchen knife, of all the times we went through her older sister's room, of the party for Haley's Comet, of the Cabbage Patch kids and John Cougar and the matching pink jackets and the Duran Duran assignments, or her sister being our gymnastics coach in the backyard, of learning to cross-stich, of being sent to the bathtub together to kill two birds with one stone – warm us up and keep us busy for awhile, of falling asleep watching MTV, of falling asleep while she was telling me all about Kennedy (with whom she was briefly obsessed) and... of everything that was intertwined for us, of the first best friend I had in my lifetime of best friendship...

We drifted apart in high school. I moved north a couple of hours and made new friends, she got into country line dancing and we just couldn’t maintain. Plus, there were some fundamental differences. We were a little yin and yang; had I not moved at 12, I predict there would have been a Bad Scene somewhere around 15 that would include but not be limited to Friend Stealing, Bathroom Graffiti, Competitive Academics, and years of cold shoulders. There would have been a rift, I can guarantee it and that would have been much uglier than what happened.

We grew apart.
Until one day, I realized I had no idea where she was and I never thought about her.

Until Facebook.
Until I read her email and read it again sort of trying not to cry and wanting to shake her 11 year old shoulders in their purple polo and matching shorts outfit and tell her to knock it off, tell her that we are ALWAYS in each other’s lives, even if we have no idea where the other one is.

No matter where I go, if I know her address or I don't, she is still close to me.

It's like first love. Your first love never leaves you. He's always there in a little nugget that is usually settled nicely and warmly in your heart but that sometimes rolls heavily into your stomach and can even rise as high as your throat to choke you up sometimes.

She's always there.
We're bound together forever and we're so incredibly lucky that way.

arizonasarah at 2:21 p.m.

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