Old Friends

August 12, 2017

 

It was just a few weeks ago that I sat with the sun warming my bare shoulders, a cold glass of Rose in my hand, on a rooftop patio above downtown Calgary with a few of my oldest and dearest girlfriends. It had been some time since the last time we met like this. We used to do it all of the time. Over coffee or wine. Weekly or sometimes even twice weekly. But, as time has ticked by, our lives have taken us in different directions and we have been unable to keep up with the frequency of our visits. On this night we talked for hours. Laughed for hours. Shared stories, shared life ... it felt like nothing had changed.

 

We grew up a tight knit crew. As little girls we were inseparable. In high school we'd each take the bus at least 10 or 15 minutes out of the way from each of our respective homes just so that we could all meet up at the same communal stop and ride the bus together each day to school. It was as if we didn't know how to face the world without one another ... although, to be fair, we did spend a number of years barely fitting in, being teased, and dealing with self esteems that were in need of a great deal of repair. We were each others biggest fans - rooting one another on as we reached momentous milestones in our young lives - a passed test, graduations, first boyfriends, first kisses, first loves. We'd brush the dirt off and pick each other back up as we endured life's pains - family drama, that dwindling self esteem thing, break ups, make ups, and broken hearts. Back then, to us, these were the moments that mattered.

 

We grew older. We partied. We broke the rules. We spent long, cold winter nights waiting in line for the bar without jackets, shooting Jack Daniels, and trying our best to save each other from any ill-favoured male visitors on the dance floor. 

 

We flexed our travel muscles - visiting new cities together - exploring, dreaming, learning. We rowed boats down the canals in Amsterdam, squeezed into tiny, humid apartments in Montreal, hiked the bustling, at times terrifying streets of Mexico City. We camped in the mountains, partied on the streets of Georgia and found a whole new view of the world around us - together. 

 

And then it seemed, without much warning, we were no longer little girls. We could smell change brewing in the air. Some of us craved adventure and career paths that took us across oceans to faraway places. Some of us found unexpected love that took us to new cities, new towns. We found partners, began to build families. Babies were born. Careers were conquered. 

 

And now, here we are, atop this rooftop patio, reunited. 

 

We have so much to say. So much to catch up on. These days the heartbreak is bigger, the tough times, well, they are tougher. Words like depression, discrimination and disease cross our lips. And the joys, they can also be immense. It feels amazing to share. It all reminds me of the time, when we were just young, when someone said, "...you know, when you guys get together you remind me of a superhero". And that we were... and still are. Stronger and more powerful when we are by each others side.

 

As I drove away after that night on the rooftop patio I felt tears form in the corners of my eyes. All I could think of was how grateful I felt for this invaluable time with my friends. My old friends. And also my new-old friends, the ones who have joined me on my path after my childhood days, but who have proven the same love and the same strength when we are together. Since having my daughter, this past year and a half has been life changing in so many ways, and during all of these unsure, wonderful, beautiful, hard and complicated times, moments like this, reconnecting with beautiful women from my past brings me right back down to earth, to the dirt, so close that I can smell it. To a place where I am reminded where I came from, who I am, and where I am going. 

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