When I was little, my best friend did not go to my school and did not live in my neighborhood. We shared a middle name, a love for playing pretend, and a dance floor three times a week. I’d wait until 10 am to call on the weekends, so that her mom–who worked the night shift delivering babies at the hospital–could get the rest she needed. I’d sit in front of the picture window in the living room, waiting for her to show up for sleepovers.
When the music stopped playing at the dance studio, we stayed friends, but eventually we grew apart.
When I started middle school, my best friend did go to my school and did live in my neighborhood. We shared a bunk at Outdoor Lab School, a love for animated Disney musicals, and a crush on the same red-headed boy. I’d go with her across town so that her mom–who worked at a printing company and brought home all sorts of art supplies–could spend the weekends with her. I’d walk to the bridge at the edge of the field that separated our houses, waiting for her to meet me halfway.
When she moved in with her mom full-time, we stayed friends, but eventually we grew apart.
When I started high school, my best friends did go to my school, but did not live in my neighborhood. We shared secrets, a love for upperclassmen, and an affinity for Slurpees from 7-Eleven. We’d ride together in the back seat of an older sister’s low-rider and devise a plan so that our moms–who got a call when we weren’t in class–wouldn’t know that we weren’t in class. I’d hang at my locker at the top of the stairs, waiting for them to walk with me to class, to the bathroom, past the boys at the end of the hallway.
When we started dating boys, we stayed friends, but eventually we grew apart.
When I graduated from high school, my best friend was long out of school and had an apartment in a new neighborhood. We shared memories, a love for seeing the world, and a future that could survive a dozen or more break-ups and make-ups. We spent a year in that apartment, and our moms–who are nearly a generation apart–were there when it didn’t work out, every time that it didn’t work out. I’d sit by the phone, willing it to ring and waiting for his voice to remind me why this had to work out.
When we moved to the mountains, when we got married, when we had our daughter, we stayed friends, and eventually we’ll grow old together.
Our daughter was little when she made her first best friend. They go to the same school, but don’t live in the same neighborhood. They share favorite dog breeds, a love for gaming, and a thrill for racing. They take turns playing teacher in their pretend school, and their moms–who both teach during the day–can take credit for the inclusion of learning targets in their dramatization. They sit in the backseat, singing away the miles that separate them from each other on the weekends.
As they get closer to middle school, they’ve stayed friends. Only time will tell the rest of their story.
I’m participating in the 9th annual Slice of Life Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Today’s slice was inspired by my own daughter’s tribute to her besties. Please take a moment and tell her what you think.