and now… (not that much has changed, right?!)
In the fall of 1992 I was beginning my senior year at Bowling Green High School. It was only my second year at the school, and my third high school to attend. Needless to say it was a little rough on the emotions.
Senior Year is a big deal. There are firsts and lasts. beginnings and endings. opportunities offered and doors closed. Some of those occasions I remember clearly, and some I’ve forgotten by now. But there is one part of my year that stands alone from everything else.
That year I met my best friend. Like so many other life-events, you don’t know it is important until long after the fact.
I suppose we had actually met earlier in the spring of 1992 in our junior year, but our friendship began to blossom our senior year. I can’t really tell you exactly how it happened – I can’t even recall how or when we met. It may have been because of common experiences, or similar family values, or because we spent a lot of time in choir together. But, regardless of all that, our friendship began- and I believe my life is so much different because of it.
Twenty five years is a really long time to be friends. Most of that time our friendship has endured long-distance. Long phone calls. texts. emails. Our face to face visits have been too few. But, our relationship remains strong. I’ve often thought that we could actually be on the phone with each other, and not actually talk, and still know what the other person was meaning to say. That’s how long-term friendships work, I guess.
All those memes you see on social media about friendship; they may seem silly, but they’re kind of true. She is the friend who chooses to be my friend, in spite of my faults – who knows how to sing my song to me even when I’ve forgotten – who believes in me and inspires me to be better – who gets me into trouble, or keeps me from getting into trouble, or both – who knows the majority of my history and still doesn’t mind admitting she’s my friend.
Most of all, I’m really a better person because she chooses to put up with me. I’ve watched this dear friend walk some of the most painful roads, filled with hurt and confusion. She’s held her head high. She’s worked hard and given herself away. She’s survived and even thrived. She’s not only survived, she’s successful. She’s a magnificent mother, daughter, sister and she’s my friend. There is no one who inspires me more. no one.
And it is her birthday today. My dear friend, Chiara – Happy birthday, friend! Your love and friendship means the world to me! Here’s to our friendship of 25 years ( its the only real gift I have to give you) – and here’s to 25 more!