The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

My best friend...

Last week, I went to a BBQ of a co-worker in suburban Virginia. She had drawn everyone a map of where to park with directions to walk to her house, which was a bit of a trek. After parking my car, I was approached by a woman in a minivan asking if I needed a ride. As I looked up, I saw that "Shuttle to Wendy's BBQ" was painted all over the car. In the ride over to Wendy's, I found out that all day long, she was going to drive back and forth to pick people up and drop them off. All day. She was not going to be at the bbq, she was simply going to drive back and forth to make sure Wendy's guests would be happy. She called it "best friend duties". I told her Wendy was lucky to have such a great friend. I'm not sure I would be willing to do what she was doing. She said "we have been through hell and back together. She would do it for me." Powerful words. Not too many people can say they have friends like that.

Last night, I realized I do have a friend like that. Well, I've actually known this for years, but have sometimes lost sight of it. It all came flooding back last night. My childhood best friend, ML, is in town (Baltimore, actually) for a week. We hung out last night and it was one of those times where you just pick up where you left off. I haven't seen her in a year and have probably only talked to her two or three times in that year. It was as if it had only been a week. Most importantly, for the first time in years, I felt like ML really needed me and I miss that feeling. You remember when you are young and you have that "best friend" that you cannot do anything without? That was us. The first day of fifth grade, when I was at a new school, with all new people, it was ML who had an empty seat next to her and said I could sit next to her. We've been best friends ever since. For years, where one of us was, so was the other. We only dated boys who were friends. We only went to movies, the mall, etc. with each other. We went to the same schools, we rode the same bus, we lived on the same street, we played on the same softball team, we had the same friends. Christmas morning, every year, my parents would wake me and my brothers up to see our "santa" stuff. Within an hour, ML was at my house checking out my stuff and having beignets with my family. Then, we'd walk to her house to see what she got. We were such a major part of each other's life and while we didn't realize it at the time, we were shaping who each other would eventually become.

All of life's twists and turns took ML and I on very different roads. Her desire to settle down and remain close to her family kept her in Louisiana. My career-driven desire to see what else was out there led me to DC. The road that she ended up on had other people who became really important to her (including her husband). That makes it hard to go home sometimes. I often feel like everything back home kept going when I left and there just isn't room for me anymore. I feel this way a lot. It felt so good to have her here last night. It felt good for her to have the oppurtunity to see my life. We talked. Alot. I realized that with all that has changed and all that we have grown, we still need each other so much. She's the closest thing I ever had to a sister and I see so much of myself in her. We have so many of the same qualities that I can only attribute to spending so much time together growing up. For the first time in years, I realized that even with all that has changed, we still have the same thoughts and dreams. A lot of things in my life have changed drastically in the last five or so years. Some, due to my own decisions and some beyond my control. I take such comfort in knowing that with all of the things I have walked away from, some of them will always be there and just will never change. ML, if you ever read this, please know that when the day comes, I will be there with keys in hand ready to drive that minivan.