Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Old Friends

The phone rang this morning, and it was an old friend; we talked and talked and talked and talked. When we'd hung up, I just felt so happy. We hadn't spoken, in person or by phone, for almost four years, after all. We've emailed, but despite the fact that that's where the friendship began, it's never the same once you make the switch over into real-life, sleep-in-each-other's-houses friendship, you know?

The reason we hadn't spoken? Nothing more malicious or devious than life. That's all it was. We'd seen each other last at her daughter's bat mitzvah; five months before that, she'd been my doula, my attendant, at N's birth. Kara walked me through labor, slept on the uncomfortable chairs in my labor-and-delivery room at the hospital, stayed with Em the night after N was born so that Baroy could be with me. She didn't get the payoff of actually being there when N came out--emergency c-section--but she was the first non-medical-staff, non-parent to hold him.

My reaction on hearing her voice--the feeling as if no time at all had passed, and the secure knowledge that I didn't have to worry why she hadn't called, or if I'd done something to insult or hurt her--made me stop and think. What is the difference between those friends who you can call after four years without a second's concern that your voice won't be a welcome one, and those friends who are in your life every day for years and then just disappear? What is it that makes Kara an "old friend" in the sense of somebody I expect to have in my life forever, even though I've only known her for eight years or so, while I have other "old friends" I give that name to in order to denote the past tense, as in "this is someone who was once very important in my life"?

I have a number of the 'good' kind of old friends in my life, including some I almost never see anymore as well as those I see every week. (Yes, I know you're reading. Yes, I mean you.) I have a number of the other kind of old friends, too, the ones who every now and then pop back into my head or even my life for a minute, but then we quickly realize that reconnecting is just too hard, and not worth our while. And I can't tell you why one person is one and not the other, except that it's a feeling deep down, a kind of basic connection on an enduring base. Sometimes it's the feeling that you've known this person forever, even when you just met. Sometimes it's the feeling that you have something very important to learn from this person.

But whatever it is, thank god for it. Because there's no psychotropic drug in the world that can do as much good as the reminder that there are more people than you think out there pulling for you, thinking of you, loving you.

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