Last week when I was still floundering in Wisdom Tooth Land, I was pleasantly surprised when one of my best friends, fresh off a plane from Denver dropped by to see me. She, along with two other friends, and myself make up a foursome that not time, tragedy, nor triumph could tear apart. We’ve been friends since we were just little knobby kneed girls with crushes on the members of Nsync, and have seen one another through weddings, births, deaths, shopping trips, life, shopping trips, broken hearts, family issues, coming of age rites of passage, and shopping trips. I forgot to mention…shopping trips.
This last time three out of four of us got together, after one too many glasses of some peach fru fru drink, we broke out the picture album to make fun of ourselves a little bit. We laughed at our lack of ability to apply make-up properly, our poor choices in talent show costumes, and how our Abercrombie and Fitch baby t’s refused to hide our belly buttons. However, the trip down memory lane didn’t entirely lead to an eye-rolling event. It made us remember as well, just who those young girls taking goofy pictures in a laundromat for the hell of it were. We were cheerleaders or basketball players, girls who thought student council was real-life politics, and professional sun-tanners. We were carefree. For a minute we weren’t grown married women, but a line of bronze bodies sprawled out on towels in Myrtle Beach. I was the girl drunk for the very first time wearing a Santa Claus hat for an unknown reason. We were the kids making funny faces behind the never-smile-for-anything guards in Great Britain. We were the Friday night cheerleaders who got in trouble for stealing a road sign at camp, the girls that used cheap K-Mart flat irons, and the ones that had to be in the thick of everything insignificant to feel like celebrities…and it meant so much.
I can speak for all of us in saying we all love our adult lives. We are all married, some of us mothers, some hoping to be mothers, grocery store shopping, suburban women. At 25 we’ve started our vigilant moisturizing routines and have taken vows to never let ourselves go. However, when we’re together, we become those other girls, with so much history that no new friends can quite compete with our pasts. I’m a firm believer of “make new friends, but keep the old,” but the new friends just have a disadvantage. They never drank cheap Mike’s Hard Lemonade with me. They never jumped off tall rocks, rolled boys’ cars, travelled out of the country, or competed in front of crowds with me. They didn’t ride in my old Ford Focus, come visit me at Chick Fila, or get ready at my house before games. They don’t hold my past in their hands. Only these old friends that I still love are in charge of my past. No one can turn back time, which is why these women have a part of me, as I have a part of them. We have no choice. When we were growing up together, we grew together, unable to become separated. I could not feel more blessed than to be one of them, because I know real friendship that time itself created with threads so tightly woven that we can never be unraveled. We know the place friendship is born, and what a fragile, sacred birth it is.