testing the power of that whole 'BFFs 4-evah!' pact we signed years ago in our high school yearbooks
Later this week, I have a lunch date with my best friend. Kay is the first person I think of when Nelson's '(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection' screams out of my iPod, the reason I know a little bit about a lot of bad 80s movies, and is someone who encouraged me to write even when I had no idea I wanted to. Growing up, she was the Kelly to my Sabrina (only because she'd call dibs on it first, and neither of us was nearly blond enough to pull off Jill)(and in a somewhat related note, she always claimed ownership of the name Jessica when we played 'Rich Girl in the Big City' games or, if it was a lazy weekend, simply 'Waitress').
We'd climb into her family's tiny camper, the one whose greatest adventures began and ended where it was parked on their driveway, and pretended to see the world. When we'd seen all there was to see on land, the RV became a rocket ship, and so believable were we as space adventurers, we came dangerously close to convincing her younger brother he was the spawn of aliens we'd rescued him from and given him to Kay's parents when they desired a son.
I was there, hiding my Barbies, while she pierced, tattooed, and put her own through rigorous breast reduction surgeries involving cement and a painful sounding scraping motion, when she was trying to decide what to do about college, and later, as her maid of honor when she married. I am absolutely looking forward to our lunch date because Kay is my best friend.
And because I haven't seen her in almost 17 years.
Is it strange, I wonder, to refer to someone you've not talked to, laughed with, or seen in so very long as your best friend? When I talk about friendship with my children, I inevitably mention Kay and how we grew up next door to each other (our mothers each still live in those respective houses), and forged a friendship when it seemed like no one else wanted in on our quirks. As my stories go on, I always, always preface things with "My best friend Kay and I..."
I do have other friends, of course, even some who've earned the 'best friend' crown, but no one in that circle of intimates has been with me since I was stealing (cough cough) copies of Smash Hits magazine from RecordLand so I could kiss the posters of Simon LeBon I'd rip from the pages and tack to my bedroom walls. None of them were there when I made the unfortunate mistake of wearing little other than fluorescent yellow the majority of my freshman year of high school, or the even greater mistake of giving myself the nickname 'Garbanzo Bean' during my sophomore year. I'm nobody's Jessica, baby. To her credit, Kay, the perpetual pretend Jessica, willingly adopted the nickname 'Kidney Bean.' No wonder we liked each other.
There's no reasonable excuse why it's taken us close to two decades to reconnect, especially considering during all this time, we've lived 30 minutes or less from the other. The last time I saw Kay, she came charging through the front door of the church just as I was getting ready to walk down the aisle. The sanctuary doors opened and my guests thought they'd see me, but I had to duck out of sight so Kay could enter and find a seat. And that? That was actually the first time I'd seen her in a couple years. We had no fights. Just...life. Life, as great as it can be, can also get in your way. So can people, opinions, and stuff. Lots of stuff. But mostly it's just been life.
It took Facebook, the great Switzerland of the Internet, to reunite us. Tenuously at first, then eventually to this place and our plans to meet for lunch later this week. She LOL'd me in a Facebook message when we'd firmed up our plans, saying she was going to "try and work a miracle in an attempt to get the gray that continues to keep coming back out of my hair...too bad I can't lose 50 pounds+ in the process :D" In my response, I told her not to worry about how she looked, that the zit on my 43 year old chin would trump any gray hair she thinks she has. But secretly, I'm bee-lining for the magnifying mirror and praying for a sunny day between now and then so I can hunt for errant chin hairs. That alien brother of hers once accused me of having a mustache, and a girl doesn't forget that kind of thing...especially when she's reached an age where, in that bright sunlight I've been praying for, it might actually look like she does!
In reality, though, I really don't care how either of us look (except note - paint fingernails). I'm only looking forward to seeing my best friend again. I hope lunch is an afterthought and we really just find we can start where we left off nearly 17 years ago. I can't say I'm not nervous. It may be like having to make a friend all over again, but I feel it's worth it.
Especially if I can fight imaginary crime again...only this time, I get to be Kelly!
Labels: but you say she's just a friend