I spent my early childhood running around in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. It was a new neighborhood, and our house one of the first to be built on our street. Very soon after, other houses popped up overnight and filled with young families. That’s when met my first best friend, Tracy, a little red-head from Louisiana. We were pretty much insperable. On the weekends, we would beg our parents to sleep over at each others houses, and the answer “no” was so painful that we developed a sophisticated code to relay the final verdict: yes meant no; no meant yes. I still remember her shouting gleefully from her front door, “No, you can’t spend the night!”
She moved a couple of years later, to my 9-year-old devastation. On her final moving day, we ate cups of vanilla pudding on the sidewalk in front of her house. I talked to her on the phone briefly some time later, but she sounded far away. I still think about her sometimes and try to find her online, but perhaps I never will. I will always wonder what kind of person she developed into.
When I was 10 we moved back to Iowa and I had to go to a new school. That first dreaded day in my new class, we were asked to choose a locker mate. When a cute freckled girl a few rows behind me was called, I heard her say my name. I turned around to scope out who liked the weird new girl, and we beamed smiles at each other. I knew right then I had a friend. Noel was beautiful to me and we quickly became “bosom buddies”, a term based on the Anne of Green Gable books (we both were budding bookworms). We spent every possible second together, torturing each other with pillows and water from the school drinking fountain, and if our parents would allow us to spend an entire weekend together, the final separation was excruciating. I remember shedding woeful tears when she had to leave my house on Sunday.
She meant and still means the world to me. We grew apart during college, but we’ve always remained close on that friends-for-life level. Nowadays I see her only once a year since we live thousands of miles and an ocean apart, but it’s just like old times every time we meet. She cried the last time we met, asking when I would finally move home. I love her so very much. I forget sometimes how much her friendship means to me, and I’m only recently realising how much I really need her.
This weekend was a wonderful reminder of how important friendship is to me. On Saturday morning, my friend from Rotterdam called and asked me to just run some errands and shoot the shit over coffee. She just needed a friend. It was a really divine day and yet so simple. True friendship is when you don’t have to do much but have a blast while you’re at it, and you part feeling refreshed as if life’s secret is right there in front of you. She is a gem of a gal, and I love her sense of humour and rosy cheeks that I always have the impulse to squeeze when she’s laughing.
Today I had brunch with another friend and a true sweety-pie. We talked and talked about work drama, fashion, and our life ambitions. We shopped for clothes and then parted ways, at which point I joined another group to celebrate two of our friends’ birthdays. We sat around a awkwardly large, round table as there were no smaller tables and shouted across at each other, laughing and crashing the salsa class that was being taught with our kick-ass salsa skills we had learned from another class we’d taken last autumn.
These last few years, I’ve not been the most social person. I dug myself a big den of solitude, I guess because I needed it. Now I’m ready to see the light of day, and my friends are waiting outside in the sunshine. I am truly blessed to have all of them in their quirkiness, charm, and everything else that comes along with a being human being, a bosom buddy, a gal-pal, and a fellow party animal.
Friends are the jewels you need to remind you that life is for sharing. Without them, life can be pretty darn dull. I want to thank each and every one of them for making this weekend and this life feel complete.