One of the two
I never had a best friend when I was growing up. I always wanted one, but it seemed like any really good friend I had always had one other friend who was just a bit more best than I was.
When I was five, I thought Jennifer was my best friend. Turns out she only wanted to be friends with me when Tammy wasn’t around. So I was the fill-in friend.
When I was in third grade, we moved to a neighborhood where I was surrounded by boys — none of whom seemed like best-friend material. I palled around with David, Teddy and Timmy and became a bit of a tomboy. David and I even started a fire once. The result? His parents banned HIM from hanging out with ME. Hmmm. We were obviously not best friends.
When I was in junior high, I became friends with Missy. We even went to Girl Scout camp and rode horses together. But she had a friend in her neighborhood who had the advantage of living closer. So I missed out on a lot. The “best” part never really materialized.
Then, in 10th grade, I met two best friends. The scenario wasn’t all that different really. Renee and Vivienne had known each other since kindergarten. A bond with a heck of a lot more history than I could ever contend with. Yet somehow we all gelled. Through the horrors of high school, through the distance and preoccupations of college, through jobs in different states, through marriages and kids.
The dynamics that brought us together in the first place have changed quite a bit. So much so that at times I’ve questioned, albeit briefly, whether things would always endure. Especially with the woman above, who was soooo much like me all those years ago — but now confounds me on a regular basis.
In high-school, we worried and fretted together. We shared our insecurities. We sang “Yesterday” at the top of our lungs, off-key, as we drove along. Now she probes me about every little detail and I clam up just to spite her. She asks my opinion about everything and I throw off casual remarks designed to be evasive. She opens herself up and I close myself off.
But when I look at this picture that I took this weekend, I see the dear, sweet friend I’ve known for more than 20 years and I wish I could take a lot of that stuff back. She’s a giving person. A guileless person. A genuine person. I have reasons for some of the reactions I have to her these days, but I struggle with how well (or not so well) I’ve held up my end of our friendship.
Still, no matter what, I know that we’ll be friends forever. She and me. She and me and also Renee. The three of us. In three different places. But always pretty close. It’s comforting. After my girlhood feeling alone, it’s simply comforting to have those ties to two incredibly beautiful women.