My Friend

Many years ago a 7th grade me was approached by a frizzy-haired, green-eyed girl roughly the same age. We were in the school gym during P.E. walking laps and talking. It turned out that she liked cats and her birthday was just two days after mine. Later we found out that our dads also shared the same name. This was how fate gave me my best friend.

Even that young we had plenty of differences but that didn’t seem to matter. We were kindred spirits. Over the years there have been many shared adventures and many life-changing events. Yet, even all these years later, she is still my best friend.

Her first child and my first child were born three months and one day apart. We didn’t plan it. That’s just how it happened. We have gone years without speaking only to discover that we both decided to go on vacation two states away at the exact same time. We both showed up at the same area attraction on the same day and the same time without consulting each other at all. (We almost did it again in a different state but missed each other by days.)

Today was another one of those life-changing events. Today my best friend’s father was laid to rest. I went to the viewing but could not stay for the funeral, even though I wanted to. I know my sadness is not the equal of my friend’s, but it hurts that she hurts and I can’t help.

He was a good man. I remember him from the point of view of the 13-year-old kid I once was. He was tall and kind. His mother lived next door so he could keep an eye on her and I remember visiting her with my friend. I also vaguely remember being chastised for playing upstairs in the barn. To be fair, we were sword fighting with sticks and not paying attention to our surroundings. My friend had also just recovered from a broken arm.

I feel drained. I wonder if this is how she is feeling as well. Hopefully, I can be there after the newness of her loss wears off and the reality sets in. I told her to call me. I meant it, but so many just say the words because they are expected. I think she knows me better than that though.

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