I met her in 5th grade during rehearsals for Pandora’s Box, our end of year drama production. We became fast friends, but ran in different circles. We said hi at school, saw each other at church and that was that.
In 7th grade, a year that I remember filled with just as much happiness as pain & turmoil, something happened. She came up to me to tell me that my so-called best friend had asked her to tell me that she didn’t want to be friends with me anymore. She looked at me with discomfort and said “She said she puts her head down when you talk to her because she doesn’t like you anymore.”
Just like that, everything changed. I got to the lunch room and didn’t know where to go. Girls can be so cruel. I was mortified. I remember standing there thinking, “oh my god, I have no friends” when she came up to me and said I could sit with her and her friends. I gave one glance over to my “old” best friend, and never looked back again.
We have been attached at the hip since that day. I don’t say that lightly as I know how lucky we are to have each other. I know it’s not every day that you find a friendship like the one we have created, relished in, for over twenty years.
She saved me.
We are a lot alike but also very different. She is stubborn and can be impatient. I am flexible and have more patience than I know what to do with. I can be a push over. But it works for us; we balance each other. We make the perfect pair on many levels, down to sharing a bag of Skittles. (She eats the red and purple ones; I eat the orange, yellow and green ones.)
We’ve been through a lot, experienced a lot – first loves, peer pressure, death of friends, death of family, graduations, college separation (she went to NCSU; I went to Furman), first jobs, new jobs, family trauma, loves lost, loves found, weddings and the birth of my son. And through it all, we’ve always been together.
She has such a strong determination and a drive to succeed that pushes me to do better, try harder. She encourages me to think outside myself. She makes me want to be stronger, more independent.
She always has.
In college, she thought she was going to major in music, but when she moved from Boone back to Raleigh and realized that communication was where her desire was, there was not a moments’ hesitation (at least from what I saw.) She goes after whatever she wants and almost always gets it.
I’ll admit I’ve been jealous. (Such an ugly word when speaking of a friend you love so dearly.) She has a confidence that I envy. It isn’t often that you feel she’s discouraged or ever thinks “I can’t”. In fact, most days I feel there’s nothing she can’t do.
Her fatal flaw is never saying no. She gives and gives until sometimes it’s too much for her and she burns out. Then she needs support and unconditional love, like we all do, but she’ll never ask for it.
She comes from a family of nine. It’s hard to learn to say no growing up in that environment, as someone is always wanting/needing something from you, but she’s learning. I’d like to say that I’m helping, but I think saying no is a problem for most women. We feel compelled to help and be there for everyone and it’s just not possible. At that point, we lose ourselves and that becomes a dangerous situation. She is the caretaker for her family, the one to smooth things over, the constant. That makes it hard for others who want her in their lives. For me, though, it’s not hard to accept. It just is. It always has been.
I feel lucky to have each her in my life. I believe (I know!) we have something rare.
We joke about being friends when we’re 90 and I don’t have one smidge of doubt that that will be true. I fully expect to hobble over to her room in the old folks home with my cane to talk smack about the grandkids of the woman down the hall, to reminisce over old pictures and to laugh about our always and forever inappropriate husbands.
She lives in my heart.
I know the two of us can be intimidating when we are together. I’ve heard it on numerous occasion. We tend to drift into our own little world and not notice the world going on around us. We don’t mean to.
When I met and feel in love with my husband, I was nervous. There was a discomfort that I couldn’t quite shake. I wasn’t sure how it would work with her in my life and him in my life. But it’s never been an issue. I know he knows that we’re a package deal. And her husband knows the same. If she calls, I answer. If she needs me, I’m there.
She makes me a better person. She makes me a stronger person.
I would not be where I am today if it weren’t, in part, for her.