Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lifetime Friends

Photo by Nic P

We met when we were five, when I offered to share something with her at church.

At least, I think we were five; she remembers how we met far better then I do. (See? Scattered, even as a preschooler) I just don't ever remember life without Ann.

She was the only child in a big house with lots of Barbies and lego. Her Mom was very easy to talk to, baked wonderful shortbread, and knitted the softest, most pretty sweaters. I remember going skating on the lake and then back to her house for steaming plates of hot home made macaroni and cheese (the best in the world) and beautiful pottery mugs of hot chocolate.

We didn't go to the same school until grade six, so until then we had to settle for carving out time on weekends and holidays, trying to sneak in sleepovers. We relished in the invention of Crayola's wash off felt pens by drawing all over ourselves, we spent hours creating forts out in the woods, running through sprinklers, drawing, and creating things out of cornstarch clay. We cross country skied and skated, caught frogs and even stuck raisins up our noses. We shared secrets about difficult friendships, boys, and even the most painful things that we didn't want to tell anyone else. School often brought drama for me and she was my refuge-my one friend that I could count on even when things with the girls at school weren't going well.

Our pre-teen years had brought some typical girl drama with it, however despite some of our difficulties, we always worked it out and when she moved far away after grade 7 I was devastated. Our relationship through-out our teens changed to letters, and I'd be bounding for the mailbox to find pages of writing in her beautiful script, with the borders of the paper covered in her artsy doodles. No computers back in those days, and instead we wrote each other on reams of paper week after week, year after year. Birthdays meant hand drawn cards-many of which I still have today, with their beautiful watercolor pictures, little fishies, and tiny birthday hats. I may have had friends in high school, but she still was my best friend from miles and miles away.

As we reached our twenties we both went through periods in our lives where suddenly we just lost touch. I'm not completely sure why or how it happened; but for a period there we needed to go and find our own paths in life. Even still, I missed her. I missed her curly script, her cute fishy drawings, and her humour that never failed to make me laugh. I missed her during my wedding, the birth of my son, and grieved that in some way, I had failed her miserably by letting things fade.

Then, just recently, I unexpectedly found her on Facebook.

It's funny how with some friends it is like no time has ever passed even when years have gone by. The same old jokes are funny, and how you realize that the drama when you were young was really just immaturity and growing up. The bond that you had at 5 hasn't changed at 36. You know that you would still go to the ends of the Earth for each other because in a lot of ways, she's like your sister. You love her and that will never change, no matter where you both go, how old you get, or even if there is some time where you are both silent. Noone is keeping score; there is no second guessing each other, here. It doesn't matter that you haven't seen her for 16 years because things just haven't changed. You know her heart and that without any doubt, she's always known yours.

Now though the wonders of technology, the writing each other is flying fast and furious again. The only thing you miss is the artsy little doodles on the pages, but you can live with that.

Because you're back to laughing about the time when you snorted raisins out of your noses when you were 11...

....and that is priceless.

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