Months (years?!) can pass. We’ll exchange little more than a passing Facebook comment or hastily written email. Our lives will move, covering large distances. Life will change.
And then, over a shared cup of tea, squeezed in between Christmas parties and holiday errands, I’ll find her right where I left her. And she’ll find me in the same place.
It wasn’t always this way. For years, we walked side-by-side. Hand-in-hand. In the same direction. Towards the same, shared destination.
And, with that destination in our rear view, we kept walking. We clutched hands. Tightly. White knuckles. Finger nails digging in.
Sometimes it hurt. Pulling in different directions. We stretched… but could only stretch so far.
And so we let go.
We stayed in touch. A thin line strung between two cans. We’d call across it on occasion. Not exactly catching up. Mostly just making sure the connection still worked.
It always did.
One day, she came into town and we made plans to have lunch. Waiting for our food to arrive, my then 1-year-old daughter between us, we talked. We caught up. We covered the large distances that our lives had traversed. We listened intently to the rhythmic ups and downs of each others’ lives, feelings past and present. We remembered what it felt like to be heard in this way. We lamented the absence of friends who listen like this in our daily lives.
We made a pact to talk more. To remember she is there when you need a friend.
And I do remember. And she is there. And (I hope) I am there.
We don’t walk side-by-side anymore. But we seek out time to be side-by-side. And when it happens?