Friends

 I had the pleasure of reconnecting with my friend Mary today. We sang together in pubs and coffee houses during college during the 70s.  She was my suite mate- my first encounter after my father kissed me goodbye and left me standing alone in a barren dorm room.  While her mother sprayed everything in sight with Lysol, she introduced herself.  She had a warm smile and sparkling blue eyes.  She played guitar and she sang like an angel.  My harmonies blended with her melodies and our friendship was sealed forever.

 

Somehow, we lost touch after graduation.  Husbands, kids, jobs, dogs… the excuses were louder than the bidding to keep the friendship alive. Our paths briefly crossed once and then again diverged.  Another eight years passed and suddenly, there she was, a face on a website.  The same sparkling eyes. The same warm smile.

 

Emails ensued and the reunion planned.  I was terrified.  My voice has lost its elasticity, and my singing is now confined to the privacy of my car.  My once willowy frame now bulges from the ravages of pregnancy, childbirth, and too many cookies.  I have few credentials to boast- a salaried job, a sunny apartment, a blue sedan that bears the scars of teenagers learning to drive, a broken marriage.

 

But then, there she was, striding down the hall to my open door. With one embrace, thirty years disappeared and we were eighteen again.  We spent a delightful day, not talking about what we do, but sharing who we are. 

 

Friends don’t read your resume.  They don’t notice your gray hair.  They don’t care if the carpet is stained or the back seat of the car is covered with dog hairs.  Friends cup your chin when the water is rising over your head. They hold you tight when the storms of life blow so hard you think you cannot stay on your feet a moment longer.  They bring salve for your wounds, a blanket for the cold and a candle to carry you through until dawn.  They encourage you to forge forward, to redefine your life, to remember the things that are good. 

 

Welcome back, Mare. I’ve missed you.

 

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