Sarah, an old friend, is visiting this weekend. It's been such a good visit. We met in the fall of 1995, when fate placed us in the same dorm at our small Midwestern college. She lived on the first floor, an all-women's floor, called "The Nunnery" by the students. I lived on the third floor, with boys right across the hall. (No air conditioning! Carrying boxes of crap up three floors in the early September heat!) Sarah was one of those girls you just couldn't help but notice. Actually, she's still that girl. We pretty much instantly became friends. She used to work the front desk in our dorm's lobby and I'd go downstairs and bug her all the time. She introduced me to Shawn Colvin's music, for which I will always be grateful. We were DJs together on the campus radio station on Saturday mornings. We were sleepy, goofy, and played awesome women's music like Joni Mitchell and Ani Difranco. Sarah was (and is) hilarious, generous, fun.
The relationship with an old friend is comparable to a marriage. You know each other really, really well. You love one another, even though on occasion you get on each other's nerves. You learn that the other person doesn't need to think exactly like you do about everything, and it's still okay, the bond is still intact. Too much distance can fray a bond, but regular communication does wonders to strengthen one in spite of the miles. It's comforting beyond measure to know that even though people can't help but change and grow in different directions, the core of who you are remains enough to maintain that connection.
Fifteen years. That's a long time to know someone, longer than many marriages! Not having any siblings, I've always taken refuge in my friendships. They are my security blanket and my joy. Life gets in the way too often, and there are gaps I'm feeling right now with some of my friends. It's funny how I live in the same town with someone and don't talk to them for months, yet I can talk every week with a friend who lives three states away. My hope for this summer is to reconnect with dear friends far and near, and to be awake enough to appreciate all the wonderful people who bless me with their love.