If I could write a letter to my long lost childhood friend…it would go like this. (Have you written yours yet?)
Dear Kay Kay,
It’s me, Lizzy. Do you remember me still? The other day my daughter and her friends did a fashion show and dare I say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, it wasn’t nearly as wacky with perfect comic pairing of music but pretty close. Wonder what other things that we did together that she will do?
Remember, how we’d scheme up little ways to terrorize that boy who visited only in summer and was a hellion that made us feel like Butte Montana was wall to wall rabble rousers wreaking havoc on our world of suburban utopia? We would spy and write little trails of messages for them to discover? On our most wicked days, we’d get all giggly standing on your deck soaking one of your mom’s tampons in red ink and hucking it over the fence for a slam-dunk right into their pool; smitten with ourselves. I think back now this had to be my idea; you were innately more kind than I.
Our summers were spent staying up late practicing our live version of Reagan getting shot reenacting “Buckwheat is Dead!” And acting out Mr Robinson’s neighborhood. Eddie Murphy, George Michael and Danny Zuko were our heros. Childhood was spent listening to records, pressing our noses to the glass of the juke box and feeling every song as the metal hand set into motion the soundtrack of our youth. Most sleep overs were filled with hours of just us playing pinball, but on occasion there would be sleeping bags of girls lining your basement and I used to stay up all night just so my hair wouldn’t be smashed to one side of my head, I never slept. That is soo messed up!
After school was the usual, you preparing me snacks as if I were the queen and then we’d fold paper into delightful little working mechanisms to read our fortunes with. Yours were always creased nicely and ornately folded, mine a blob, with perfect spelling……we’d fill it in with our smelly purple pens; names, cars, professions, numbers of kids we’d have, predicting what our future life would be filled with; whom we’d marry?Secretly we must have known which were the bad apples that turned out to be the Cocaine pushers and those who were indeed gay, no surprise to anyone when they came out. Perhaps just that one….. who came out at our twenty year reunion as a girl instead of a boy. BTW the class president guy-I see him at the soccer fields all the time, and he speaks to me!
If I did bump into you today, you might just notice, I am not so consumed with myself as I was as a kid. I don’t drive a garbage truck after all and funny thing…..I got a call from THAT boys sister outta nowhere years back….I did go to his wedding -you know the one-we shared a huuuuuge crush on. He married some young ethnic girl, nothing like us. I am sure he still pines for us! He never did become the the button down kid with perfectly trimmed nails. I do regret having that extra beer at his wedding, and grabbing the mic for a dedication; something I don’t do anymore. I don’t do things that are wild or risky or even call attention to myself anymore, in fact it’s as if I have taken on a new identity. I don’t even drink-you might find me almost mellow these days? Would you have predicted that?
Why the letter? It seems so apparent to me now as meaningless as the childhood years appear at the time, I swear they have molded me into something I feel proud of and well, I am glad I am me! The blossoming character building of grade school friendship feels incredibly eternal-then poof, it’s gone!
Daily, I watch it under my own nose, mocking my own child as he does exactly the same nerdy things I did at 14! I watch my boy, fearful to knock on a friends’ doors but rather inclined to just wait for a friend to knock at his-Just as I did. I see him smile and turn away so I can’t see the glow of his intense happiness….just like me.. I hear him do the forced laugh, or wear the same thing all week because he is immune to caring what people think of his habitual comfort needs. I see with my own teenager, myself and my childhood all over again.
I’m proud that he is slow to need to impress, and am pleased he too prides himself that his friends are his most prized possession, above all else. It warms me to see his loyalty, loyalty I used to have. I thought I would savor my mates like a fine cheese, forever but I grew too busy in life to keep up and now I am old and don’t eat dairy. Oh yes the letter, I no longer do anything fear based, just things that make me smile. I won’t forgo an attempt for friendship for fear of disappointing them with my imperfect friendship.
There is after all, no such thing…..friends inhabit the heart forever and change you. Perfect plays no part in friendships.
Today friend, I would NEVER think to correct your spelling mistakes on the notes you passed; I would just simply be giddy to share time spent thinking about things that eventually will not matter. I would show you long, long ago, I threw perfectionism by the wayside, and kissed it goodbye forever.
As far as your husband goes, I don’t regret being misunderstood, I just regret that you were a bridesmaid in my wedding ….don’t tell me that when Bridesmaids the movie came out-you didn’t watch and think of me? My only regret is that I made you my bridesmaid. Friendship is doomed- when you make a friend a bridesmaid. Despite your absence in my life, thank you for all the friendship I carry in my heart today, because you and I were such great friends.