I have been sorting and cleaning through old items, journals, and pictures this week. Not that I have really saved much since I went through a period last year in which I felt the need to throw away all the things I had been holding on to for memories sake. However, luckily something wonderful survived that purge. My journal from 10-16 years old. In it was birthday memories, forgotten friends, and best of all, my poems and short stories that I had written during that period, ones of happier times, before the darkness of depression consumed my thoughts and words. One particular story, The Friendship Tree, was based off my experience of moving to a new school in 3rd grade. For a full year, I had no school friends. (I had one good friend who lived behind us, but she was in 2nd grade). During recess, I shyly watched all the other kids play, wishing for the courage to try to join them. I had a few instances in which I’d join in, only to feel even more left out than before. Standing there waiting for someone to kick the ball my way, or tag me, when no one ever did, I felt invisible.
According to this story, I spent a lot of time on the swings, or climbing trees. One day, I noticed a group of girls running around way back in the trees, like a secret group. I watched carefully as they played every day, finding out what they would play, never really figuring it out. 3rd grade ended and still I lacked the courage to join in. Sure enough, 4th grade came around, one of the girls was in my class that year, noticed that I was alone and asked me if I wanted to join them. I smiled and came over, expecting to be invisible again, instead I was given a secret Indian name, and thus was inducted into the Indian club. (Although sometimes it was the American Girls Club or something else.) These girls became my friends, and best friends during that year all the way up to 8th grade. Without having met them, I don’t know where my life would be, but I’m thankful, they’ve had a part in helping me to grow up to the woman I am today. Really, I tell it so much better in the story written by a 16 year old me. I should actually just post that, but I’m wondering off from where I want this blog to go.
These friends, started out as 12-15 girls, by the end of 4th grade we were down to 8- 10 girls, and each year we lost a few more to other cliques, but there were 4-6 girls who I felt inseparable from. We would sit with each other every day in grade school, meet for sleepovers, bowling trips, mall trips. We did girl scouts together, and joined school clubs together, all the typical BFF stuff. It was these girls that taught me how to do a cart wheel, flip on a trampoline, and tried to teach me how to dive during one summer.
High school changed us, the group of 6 split into 3 different groups, one going off to a much larger clique, myself and another friend heading off into another smaller clique, while 3 others stayed together and found another girl who matched more who they were trying to become. Out of High School I had a whole new set of friends who I was able to go wild and find trouble with. I had one friend from the original 6, who despite the fact that we were constantly changing and so different from each other, and never really in the same place in our lives, somehow managed to stay friends with each other. Until, a fatal car crash tore her away from me almost 10 years ago. Her birthday is coming up on Monday, she would have been 31.
I have had so many friends along the way, friends that I had felt just as close with, but it is her that I long to have back, because she was the only one who knew how crazy I had become, and didn’t care. She didn’t walk away. She had friends who were richer, and cooler, and more stylish than me, but that didn’t matter to her. She was the one who invited me to the play by the tree, she stuck by me from that day on. I recently had a dream about her, one in which she was just in a coma for the last 10 years and it was my job to re-introduce her to the world. It was the best dream ever because I had my best friend back, and we were up to all of our old shenanigans, but when I awoke, it was with the heartache of loss all over again. Ugh, this wasn’t supposed to be a sad blog, and I drifted again.
So, my point was, these friends of mine, whose paths have drifted so far from where we all started, are now all my Facebook friends, all mothers and wives, mostly on the same path, maybe a little different. Although we aren’t close enough to be BFFs again, I’m glad to have them back in my life, even if it’s just electronically.