Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Meaning of Friendship

Every night when I go on the internet, to check email, Facebook, this blog and various other social media, I also click on the websites for the two funeral homes in town. Does that make me old or morbid or both? You just never know who may have passed away.

One night last week, on my usual tour of the world wide web, a name caught my eye. My mouth dropped open and my breath stopped. “No, it can’t be,” I said out loud to Dino and the cat. Kathy’s dad had died. Kathy, my best friend from high school.

Whenever I saw her parents, which was pretty frequently, they always stopped to ask how I was doing, how my mom was. And I’d ask what Kathy was up to. I had just seen them the week before and her dad had seemed fine. What could have happened? It’s probably called old age. At age 91, every day is a blessing and each day could be your last.

I hadn’t seen Kathy in over twenty years, but her face lit up when I walked into the church on Saturday. She couldn’t wait to tell me how much she enjoyed my book. When she introduced me to her husband and daughter, they immediately knew me as the author. Even her brother recognized me right away.

I felt pretty guilty. This was certainly their day and not mine. A few hours after I got home, it dawned on. The middle of Chapter 7.

I was no stranger to being left out.

One day shortly after I had started the seventh grade, my two best friends said they wanted to talk to me. We had been together since second grade, but now they had decided it was time to move on. They no longer wanted to be friends with me.

I was crushed. What had I done to them? Nothing. They just felt we were growing apart and had little in common anymore. My knees went weak, and I saw black spots in front of my eyes.

I was an awkward, insecure twelve-year-old. What was I going to do? Who would be my friend?

There was a girl named Kathy who was in most of my classes. I hadn’t known her before, but she was quiet and shy like me. She also got good grades like me. Maybe we would click.

Trying not to seem pathetic, I approached her the next day. “Would you be my friend?”

She was relieved, and a smile lit up her face. Evidently, her pals from previous years had left her as well. We remained best friends until we left for separate colleges many years later.

I don’t know what to say after that, what to write. I just wanted to share part of my weekend with you. 
Halloween weekend our senior year in high school. Sal, Kathy, Lori, Brenda and I spent the night at Sal's parents' cabin. It looks like it was rather cold out that October. Good thing that Sal stayed up all night stoking the fire. Those were fun times. But we are getting older. Besides my dad and Kathy's dad, Brenda's dad and both Lori's parents are gone. Sigh. 

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