Tuesday, September 20, 2016

True Friends

My dear friend lives a busy life: four children (two teens), a grand baby, a business in her garage and a full time job counseling teens who have stumbled.  I have a few responsibilities of my own, and so when we do get together, which is often just ten minutes here, or a short walk there--always, we have too much to catch up on in too little time.

Yesterday we only had ten minutes. We started several different conversations and never had a chance to finish at least one story.

A few hours later, my phone rings, "Hi," she says, "I called to tell you the rest of the story."

Just before hanging up, my friend reminds me, "You know, it's only the best of friends, who can pick up weeks, even months later, and continue the conversation. You're one of those friends."

I acknowledge the truth of what she's saying. Real friends can pick up where they left off even if it's years later. For my best high school friend and me, it was my four-kids-grown-up later before we could get together again.

Today, another friend, who I haven't had a real conversation with in years, is meeting me for lunch. Another friend dropped by with her boyfriend after one long year of her absence--it didn't matter.

And then...there is the friend who doesn't appear to have stood the test of time.

We were only sixth graders when we said good-bye, but we promised to meet as grown-ups. I never forgot and one day, the third friend who'd been part of the pact, found our long lost friend on facebook. She'd become a famous person in a fame filled world and in spite of the demands in our very different worlds, we'd managed to find a time to meet. She was in the middle of moving, I was responsible for sixteen teenagers, and we were two LA suburbs apart. We miscommunicated; I tried to change our meeting to another day. In the fit of a too-busy woman who isn't used to people changing appointments, she canceled. I apologized. She didn't respond. Crestfallen, I realized I should have done this, I should have done that. A childhood dream ended in disappointment. I accepted it and vowed to be more considerate of others' time.

Years passed. Whenever I thought about the failed reunion, I felt a little stab in my chest.

I just so happen to have a little-used facebook account where I belong to beekeeping groups only. I don't stay on top of the messages, but this time I clicked on the messages and one was from my sixth grade friend. She'd seen the Broadway play, Beautiful, the story of Carole King, and she'd thought of me because I used to sing along to Carole King songs. She'd sent the message in July and I didn't see it and reply until September. I hoped I hadn't blown it again.

I re-read the first heartfelt messages we'd sent when we'd found one another. So kind and tender.  Those messages were sent in 2010.

We'd reconnected after thirty years. It didn't matter--we were still bonded by our sixth grade promise. She cautiously reconnected again after six years, and I truly hope it is the beginning of possibly meeting again~~~because with true friends, it doesn't matter how much time has passed, how many stories there are left to tell.