I had lunch with an old friend today. We’re exactly the same age, and we’ve known each other since we were five. Our backyards butted up to each other, and we spent the long summers together lying in the grass, or riding our bikes, or climbing onto the roof of the local elementary school and pondering life from a dizzying height. She was a tomboy, and I was Miss Priss, but we loved each other like sisters. We were inseparable.
Her dad died when we were in fifth grade. It was an unfathomable loss for her whole family – especially her mother, who had married the love of her life. The mention of him still brings tears to her eyes 35 years later. We tried to stay friends through the difficult middle school years, but like all young girls, we developed at different rates and had different interests. The final blow was her mother’s remarriage and the family’s move to another neighborhood. Her new home was not far away, but it separated us by the abyss of different high schools.
We tried to keep in touch, but the familiar rhythm of life together was shattered. She went off to college in