Sunday, July 18, 2004

Best Friends

It's been awhile since I really had a true 'best friend'--you know, that person you were always with in grade school or high school, the one that everyone identified you with, the one you talked on the phone with every night even if you had just seen each other 2 hours before, the one you told everything to, the one you knew would always be there for you.

I guess I've been lucky that I've had 2 really good 'best friends' in my life--girls who were sweet, compassionate, good listeners, loyal, smart and pretty too. I had lost touch with my high school best friend, S., for about 10 years until a couple months ago, when email and the Internet (of course) brought us back together. My grade-school best friend, C., and I have stayed in touch since I left our school in the 6th grade, always writing letters (sometimes more often, sometimes hardly at all), calling every once in a while, and visiting every so often.

Well, I saw both of these best friends from the past yesterday, S. for the first time in about a decade and C. for the first time in about a year. And I am happy to say that none of them has changed so much that I either: a) didn't recognize them, or b) don't get along with them anymore.

On the contrary, I had a great time with both of them, reminiscing, looking at old high school pictures (S. exclaimed, "What is going on with that hair!" when she saw her senior portrait in my book), ooohing and aaahing over children (S. has two, C. is thinking about it, I'm planning on it), girl-talking about our current partners and past relationships, sharing insights into life's ups and downs.

It's quite extraordinary to me that I have been able to maintain a connection with these two amazing women--and we are all women now, with a mortgage, children, lifelong partners and family troubles between the three of us--for all these years, especially because I tend to be the kind of person to run away from old things, to put things behind me, to start fresh over and over again. I've realized lately the limitations of this kind of approach to life, which is perhaps why I've been making more efforts to be in closer touch with these best friends from the past.

But what is frightening about seeing these friends again is that they have known me for so long--before the radicalizing of my Berkeley years, before the numerous boyfriends and love dramas, before I gave up on many of my ambitious, often ridiculous, sweetly naive and beautifully hopeful dreams.

It's frightening to know people that know so much about a 'you' that you often feel no longer exists--yet it's also strangely liberating and comforting at the same time. And it makes you feel that maybe those dreams were not so naive or ridiculous, that somewhere inside you they still exist, are still part of your daily struggle and living, are still waiting for you to believe them, move towards them, on the other side of the looking glass.

Enjoy your Sunday,

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