This is for my friend Edith. Because old friends are special. They just are.
We became friends in junior high and were very close until our 3rd or 4th year of high school. Best friends. Best friends of the best kind.
Not that we weren’t friends after we graduated. We were. We wrote each other for years (I had moved away; she hadn’t). We sent each other birthday and Christmas cards. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding.
We were different. Very different. In a lot of ways. But there was a connection.
She was honest. Real. Genuine. She had a good heart. She was intelligent. Loved animals, especially dogs…like I did. She lived on a farm. I was a town kid. She drank unpasteurized milk. I tried, but I just couldn’t swallow it. She rode horses bareback. I fell off the back, literally. If I could get on in the first place. They scared me. She was a horse whisperer.
Different. But somehow, we connected.
We did our algebra homework together over the phone. We talked about what was in our heart and on our mind. We understood each other.
I respected her. I saw a purity and beauty in her that inspired me.
One recent Friday night, we got together for the second time since her wedding all those years ago. The first time, we met in a restaurant and it was awkward. It was hard to reconcile the older version in front of me with the person I knew in high school. Probably was for her too. But when we met at my house, we talked. And it was easy. It was fun. I saw the young girl I knew way back when. When we were 17. We still had a connection and it was special.
We’ve gotten together a few times since and each time, I see more of the friend I knew so well. I see her integrity. How genuine she is. How caring. Giving. Unique. We are still different. She has kids. I don’t (except for my dogs). She still lives out in the middle of nowhere on a farm. I’m a city gal. I love clothes. To her, they’re something you need…but they’re not fun. Yet the differences don’t matter. They only make our relationship more interesting.
I’ve also discovered some things about her that I didn’t know back then. Ways in which we aren’t different.
We both love mysteries and we read a lot of the same authors. We are both Christians. She was even in high school, though I didn’t know. Took me longer, but I got there. So we share quite a few values. We think a lot alike. We’re both a little shy and socially awkward, even after all these years. And we run deep, preferring to talk about things that carry some weight instead of rattling on endlessly about nothing in particular.
I don’t have many friends. I only have a couple who know anything about the real me. Edith knew me and loved me back in the day when I was raw, messed up, struggling and pretty close to unlovable. She believed in me when no one else did. And I am grateful.
We lost touch. We missed out on a lot of years. But still, I feel her acceptance. She has opened her heart to me again and I am amazed at the treasure she holds within. Though I am still battered and messy, she sees a person worth knowing. And she is willing to take the flaws with the good she finds in me.
She enriched my life then. She enriches it now.
So, this is for my friend Edith. Because old friends are special. And Edith is one of the most special of all.