If you were desperately wondering where on earth I disappeared to, or if you weren’t, I’m going to let you know anyway. Since last Friday, I’ve been visiting with friends in Oklahoma where one of this group of friends moved to this past summer to work at a college locally. That might not sound all that exciting, but when there’s so much distance between friends, getting together is pretty brilliant.
Originally, it was just Kate and I driving down from IL to see Sarah (and her husband, Paul, who is somehow surviving a home full of women). This was certainly enough for celebration, but the best surprise was awaiting Kate and I in OK. A member of our little group, Emily, who is residing now in Massachusetts with her husband, Chris and four wonderful, albeit young kids, has not been able in the past ten years to get together with us due to well; four young kids. I had spoken to her last week before the trip and had lamented with her that she was unable to join us due to familial obligations. Imagine my shock and joy at seeing her already at Sarah’s house, all smug with knowing in her eyes.
This (taken by Sarah, with Emily’s camera) was taken at a Tulsa Oilers hockey (CHL) game. We’ve been friends since freshman year of college, which began last century: 1999. We lived in the same dorm and during those four years, have lived together (one or two at a time). And as of 2003 summer, we all lived in different states and areas (Sarah and Kate both were in IL, but not necessarily next door to each other). Emily got married in 2002 and had her first child in 2005. She has in total: two girls and two boys, of whom I’ve met three. They are truly the most wonderful children; both well-behaved and loving. Sarah got her Masters (2005) and Ph.D (2011) in English (and film) and married (2009). She has her first full-time professor gig in Oklahoma. Kate got her Masters in Social Work (2006) and subsequent certifications with acronyms that confuse me and married in 2010. She works in school Social Work with kids of all ages, but those mostly who are touched by autism and other special needs.
I was Emily’s Maid of Honor, and both Sarah and Kate’s bridesmaids.
These are my best friends. We have lived and done a lot in our time apart. We have not lived together in almost ten years. We’ve been apart longer than we were together. And yet, we are still close and still talk on a fairly often basis. To me, a girl who has moved every 2 to four years of my life and has left friends behind numerous times and rarely spoken to them again, this is a feat. We have been in close quarters 24/7 for the last four days and in ways, it’s like being back in college. Some of the conversation hasn’t changed a bit. But then there is talk of husbands, children, jobs, and houses; and we are adults with full lives.
They are a gift. Friendship that lasts this long and hasn’t soured or waned. They are the reason I wanted to write Phase, a story about two girls whose friendship survives ups and downs of extraordinary circumstances. They are the reason I could.
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