Up until I was eleven, I had gone to a small (one class per grade) elementary school. Then sixth grade came along, and I was shipped off to the new, three-grade middle school that held students from all over the district – vastly more kiddos my age than I had been around before. Like most little ones, I’m sure, I went through a period of attempting to find my place, but not really feeling like I fit in anywhere.
November eventually rolled around and my group (I have no idea how we were divided) got its chance to go for a weekend of team building at Camp Joy. And that’s when the magic happened. Somehow this girl I sat behind in social studies and I clicked. Completely. We giggled constantly like only young girls can. To this day I still recall the lyrics and tune of a little song/faux advertisement we made, I believe denigrating some food that we had been – questionably according to us – served.
Melinda and I spent the remainder of middle school in some kind of custody arrangement between our parents. I’m not even sure what we did – though I do remember belly laughing over prank calls – but we were thick as thieves. Thicker, since we actually cared about each other. Then, high school happened, and with one thing and then twenty others, we drifted apart. Guiltily at this point, I don’t remember the details of how this happened, only that it did and I wish it hadn’t.
Fortunately, my story doesn’t end there. Sometime last year, we reconnected on Facebook (it’s things like this that keep me on there!), and since she and her husband have built a home that is in the same neighborhood (relatively speaking) as our parents, we reconnected in person last weekend. We talked about meeting for dinner, but then decided we’d cook together.
I don’t know who does this. In retrospect, isn’t that a little odd? We hadn’t spoken since we ran into one another at a Taco Bell in town sometime around 2000, and instead of a simple, low-commitment dinner in a public place, we opted to prepare a meal together. It was a great plan. The best plan. From the moment we walked in the door, it was like old times. Only this time we brought our husbands – who we’ve each been married to for an improbable length of time, considering our ages.
We did the catching up thing, swapping histories while we did the cooking thing. Which admittedly took a while to get around to with all the talking. And also the giggling. That came right back, too. But beyond just a middle-school friendship revival, we also shared pain points and offered commiseration and support. I was overwhelmingly reminded of a quote I keep seeing on Pinterest, the gist of which is that a true friend is one with whom it doesn’t matter how long it’s been, when you see one another you can pick right back up where you left off. I hate to be too gushy – after all, I’ll share this on Facebook and Melinda might read it 😉 – but I can’t imagine the night having gone much better.
Oh, and dinner? It was second to the conversation, but I think I remember it being pretty darn good.