There is something about a friend, a truly great friend, that sets them apart from the day to day people we interact with, or even the ones we call close friends, or best friends. When I was in High School, I don’t recall anyone using the BFF thing, which I have encountered through the kids mostly in the past few years. I don’t remember swearing undying friendship, or taking blood oaths to remain as close as we were, back then.
On the other hand, it appears that perhaps these things aren’t truly needed, if the friendship is as deep as it can be. I can attest to this, as I spent Saturday with one such friend. Truly, a great one, in all senses of the word.
So, we met at 14, and we talked- and discovered our birthdays are two days apart, that we like similar things, that we both take German in the fall, that we enjoy reading, and minor things like that. We didn’t keep in touch over that summer, as we’d met late in the school year and weren’t that close, that fast.
Fast forward to the fall of Sophomore year, when I walked into the German classroom, and there was Di- big smile, big eyes, pretty blond, just what a 15 year old loves to have greeting him. To be sure, we were both a little lost, new school, new classmates, new schedules- so we were very happy to learn that from second to fifth period, we were in four classes together, and lunch too! Hooray!
We talked, we chattered, we grew to know one another, we became close, and very good friends indeed. About halfway through the year, I met the girl that I would marry, five years later; however, even while dating, Diane and I remained close friends. She’d tell me about her troubles with boyfriends and her parents and sister, I’d share with her my feelings for Lynn, and whatever was going on at my house too.
As the years went by, we double-dated a fair amount, but mostly we grew together in a circle of various groups, that really formed our “gang”. We had myself and Lynn, Doug and Diane, Leslie and her current, Stuart and his random, Dave (a different Dave) and his girl whose name escapes me, Laurie and Mike, and a half dozen others that I can’t think of now. This gang really did things together, mostly. We went to Proms, we went to parties, we got drunk and threw up all over one another’s homes (and occasionally, on one another). We drove places, they came to my cabin, we went to their cabins, we played strip poker and blind-mans-bluff, and all the other stuff you do, when you’re in high school and thinking that you’re so grown up.
So, we all graduated, and did our next things- but Diane was still my closest friend, excluding Lynn- but that too, was somewhat different, as Lynn was my girlfriend, and Di was my friend-friend. It makes a difference, when it comes to how you relate, I think. Anyway, we were all pretty tight, to the point that one time, when I had been talking to Diane on the phone while she was away at school, I determined that she needed a hug. So, I rented a plane, grabbed Lynn, and we flew to the town she was in, in order to give her a needed hug.
Later, after we were married, and Diane had met Mike (Whom she would marry), we would do things as a foursome, often. We’d hang out at their place, they’d come and stay with us for a few days, a weekend or a week. We’d go to the cabin, hauling the boat around, and go skiing and just hang out.
As we all had kids, and jobs, and homes, we saw each other less frequently; but, Di and I still talked regularly, and we’d still chatter and share for hours. Until, that is, Lynn and I moved east. After that, the schedule and the jobs and the kids really started getting in the way, and of course the drop-in visits ended; but, once a year, like clockwork, I’d call her on her birthday, or she’d call me on mine, and we’d talk for hours- one year, for 10 hours, nonstop. That made my ear hurt!!
This continued, until last month, when I got a phone message: “I know it’s not your birthday, but I’m calling anyway. I have to be in the NE for a conference, can I extend the trip and come see you guys?”
Can she?? Try and get away without it, was my reaction. So for a month, I kept on waiting for the call that said, “Can’t do it after all.” Didn’t come by labor day, nor by school start, nor by the end of last week; and then, finally, Friday arrives, and I head to NYC, to meet her flight.
Holy cow, what fun! She landed at 130AM Saturday; I put her on the train to Boston at 700AM Sunday. In there, we slept for 2 hours on Saturday morning, and for 1 hour Sunday morning, and the entire rest of the time, we talked. We talked, and talked, and talked, as if there was some rule that silence is not permitted, when old friends are reuniting.
We went to go walk around the village, Saturday morning, Lynn and Beth and Di and me, and we talked. We wandered in and out of stores, stopped for coffee, saw our church, and we talked. We heard of good and bad, ups and downs, kids doings and Mike’s doings, of how she was and is, and jobs and pets and houses and cars and businesses opened and businesses closed, and we told her of ups and downs and jobs and kids and health and surgery thoughts, and other friends and of Dave and Lynn and where we are, and we talkedandtalkedandtalkedandtalkedandtalked.
So, I say: There is something magical, wonderful, about picking up a friendship that is so strong, so solidly ingrained, that a ten-year miss is as if nothing. We laughed at ourselves, as we were catching up, at how comfortable it was, and is, to be together again. We made promises, NO MORE ten year gaps; in fact, much as we never did in high school, we cracked ourselves up when the kids asked us about it, and we “pinky swore” to not let a year pass, not one single year, ever again.
And, if you pinky swear it, it has to be real, right??
The only mar on the weekend, the only small thing that kept it from being perfect, is that it was such a short time together. We live 3 hours from NYC’s airports and stations, so when I picked her up at 130 Saturday, we didn’t get to my house until 430; and when I had to drop her at Penn station for a 700 train Sunday morning, we had to leave the house at 400. so, we’re gonna have to make sure that next time, somehow and someway, we have a much longer time.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some sleep to catch up on.