Old Friends

Some things people say turn out to be true.

Forty years ago, my friend shouted out to me from her office, “Don’t you think we’ll know each other forever?”

It was said like confetti, a joyful thought thrown into the air, and it rained down on me like luck itself. I was a single parent, a graduate student, struggling with money, struggling with academics, wearing my turtleneck sweaters and acting the part. I didn’t have friends. I had problems as friends.

“Don’t you think we’ll know each other forever?” That seemed unlikely, improbable. She was smarter, at ease, good at things, good at laughing and making people comfortable. She was at home in her own skin; I wanted to leave mine on the coat rack by the door and become someone else. Maybe her.

Sometimes, later in my life, when I had to do scary things like talk in front of a big group, I would pretend to be her. She doesn’t know this. I never told her.

So, today, we sat in a restaurant and we talked for a good long time. It has been many years since we’ve spent much time together. But right away, listening to her talk, watching her hands move the same way through the air, hearing the long, intricate stories and her laugh at the punchlines, I remembered her shouting out to me, “Don’t you think we’ll know each other forever?”

Who knew that would be true? She did, I guess.



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