Note: I originally wrote this post back in April, but never posted it. Now, with this NaBloPoMo craziness, I'm pulling it out of its holding pattern. The time references don't make sense; everything else does.
I received one of the greatest gifts on Friday: a visit with an old friend I have not seen in over 10 years. It was truly fantastic to see her, and it's had me thinking about what happens over time.
Kathy and I went to high school together, and there are few people in my life that I've ever had as much fun with or shared as much of myself with. She was intelligent, funny, sweet, and slightly geeky (sorry kath!), and I was at least two of those things as well, and we hit it off. We weren't in the "party crowd" but we sure enjoyed our wine and 7-up mixers, served on multi-colored square-patterned carpet of her older brothers' room (who was away at college) because his room was detached from the house and we had more freedom out there. We were tipsy to the Beatles and the English Beat and the Rolling Stones. We spent lots and lots of weekends together, sleepovers at each others' houses. We grew up together. Few friends have ever known me as well as Kathy did.
We stayed in close touch during the first few years of college; I even flew out to Virginia to visit her at the College of William and Mary (I told you she was smart!). We shared long letters back and forth between our dorms, as we both adjusted to college life, to growing up and away from our families. I was particularly miserable in my first year away, and she was a rock of support for me in the hardest year of my life.
Somewhere along the line, we drifted. Unlike other friendships that drift because people lose that sense of the bond they once shared, I think Kathy and I drifted only because we both got busy. I have never forgotten the bond we had, never felt it lessen, but we still somehow lost the "habit of being" good friends. We attended each others' weddings, of course. But then we drifted even further away.
And then, some genius person came up with this crazy Facebook thing!
And we found each other once more. Just in time for her to be one of the few people I spoke to on the phone when my dad was recently in a terrible accident. She responded to a facebook post about my dad (posted by someone else) and then sent me an email with her phone number, and I called her. Hadn't talked in years and it was like we talked just yesterday, and I was telling my good friend about my idiot father riding his idiot bicycle and getting slammed into by an idiot truck driver. (Life is generous that way: plenty of idiocy to go around.)
Kathy brought me back to who I was as a teen and young adult. I liked that person. She was funny, quirky, independent, and bound for greatness. She had no clue that "greatness" meant raising five people, but for now, this is where whatever greatness I have resides. But Kathy reminded me of the joy we experienced, the pure, giggly fun of two smart teenage girls who were loved by their parents and had just enough freedom to get in very, very little trouble, enough to feel like we were getting away with something.
Remember her? Remember me? Remember us? Friendships like that raise us, as sure as our parents do. Thank you Kathy, for helping me become the person I am today, and thank you for the "meet and greet" at Noah's bagels that reminded me of where I have come from.
So all you Facebook skeptics out there: join. If only for that one person you'll find who will make your day and take you back to a place you'll love to visit. Facebook is weird, but it brought my Kathy back to me. You'll find your Kathy too, and you'll be so glad you did.
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