One minute you’re up all night giggling about boys and poetry and sorority girls in a cramped dorm room, and the next minute you’re up at dawn sharing a French press and talking about men and book publishing and people you used to know. Except by a minute I mean a year or a decade or a whole lifetime.
Real friendship is like that. Great expanses of time can fly by between when you first gelled and when you cross paths again. Your faces are different, you’ve seen things and been places and loved people that can be hard to explain. And yet, the gel is still there. Your friend understands without question your current turmoil, joys, secrets. Your friend picks up right where you left off and wags her finger where it needs to be wagged and cheers you on when you need a little push.
Your friend is not afraid to call you out, to nail you to the wall if need be, when you are being ridiculous and demanding of a perfectly good relationship, job or living situation. Your friend is not afraid to come around the corner screaming to remind you how wonderful and special and badass you are. Your friend is not afraid to stand up to a herd of awful screaming banshees if it meant protecting your heart when it is delicate.
Through the births and the deaths, the heart explosions and the unexpected joys, whether you’ve heard from your friend or not, it’s good to know you can pick right back up where you left off. You can call that friend and say, “I’m in town! Let’s hang out,” or “my sister just passed, I need you,” or “what the fuck am I doing with my life?” You will sort it out over coffees or pizza or just a glass of water in the front yard with crunchy grass between your toes. Or maybe you will just get a text message with a line from a song that saved your life at one time. Either way, that friend knows your heart, knows you in a way that not even time can affect.
Maybe it’s the day to call that friend, or text a photo of your cat, or plan a visit. Maybe it’s the day for a long letter about the babies she’s never met or the career you are kicking ass at or the tomatoes you planted in the garden. That friend would love to know any of that, or none of it. Because that friendship will be there when you’re good and ready.
Those days when you sat around eating Halloween candy until you were sick, flying on rope swings made of hoses and sharing the excitement of your first kiss are gone. But what lies ahead are the days when you see that friends’ kid for the first time, long talks about 90s punk, and sharing secret gray hair clumps hidden in a pony tail.
Hey friend, I love you. I’ll always love your dreamy dream making, your excitement for pant suits, your little giggle at my dumb jokes. Talk to you soon. Or in another decade. Or after the world has been flattened. Whatever works.