Old Friends



You know them – the people whom you haven't seen for years and years, but get together for five minutes, and it's like time has stood still. So it was for me this week, when after 20 years of distance, I had lunch with my best, best friend from girlhood.

I remember the first time I met Carol. We were probably 5, and she was peeking from behind her mother's skirts, as I was peeking from behind my mother's. It wasn't love at first sight, but within three years we were inseparable. The path between our houses grew worn. We shared secrets, insecurities, fears, hopes. We laughed together, supported each other, were there for each other, and loved each other.

Simon and Garfunkel was the music of our teenage years. And when I hear one of their songs – especially the lyrics, “...Time it was and what a time it was...” I'm instantly pulled back to 1965, sitting in Carol's bedroom, listening to the radio, knowing every word of the song.

So. I had lunch with Carol this week. Business brought me to her home of Raleigh, North Carolina. It had been so long since we had spoken or corresponded that it didn't even occur to me that I might be able to see Carol until last Sunday. I jumped on Google, located her LinkedIn connection, and leapt over years of not talking.

When I saw Carol in the restaurant, it was like an out-of-body experience. Here was someone so precious to me, so much a part of who I was and who I became, standing in front of me. We hugged hard, leaned back to look at each other, hugged hard again, and took another look. Yep, beneath the added years and pounds and wrinkles, we were still 13-year old girls, bonded together for life.

Our two hours together passed in a minute. We caught up on children, husbands, parents, friends. We shared our painful experiences in losing our respective fathers. We looked in amazement at photos of our children, with disbelief that we each had two adult children with lives of their own. We promised that we would not wait this long for another time together.

There are people who have more friends than they can keep track of. There are people who can count their close friends on the fingers of one hand. Regardless, there is still nothing like that first friend – the one who knows embarrassing facts about you but would never embarrass you with them. The one with whom you shared your insecurities and who supported you without question. The one who can still make you laugh harder than anyone else.

Our mobile lifestyle steals these relationships from us, as we so easily move from city to city, country to country. Our technology gives us the opportunity to snatch those relationships back, out of oblivion.

Time it was and what a time it was...a time of innocence. A time of confidences...

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