When I returned to public school in 8th grade, my sister warned me, “Choose your friends wisely now. The ones I made at Jones [Junior High] are the ones I’ve kept.” She was right. Phoebe, Julie, Marcie, Laura; these I’ve kept. We’ve kept each other.
Carving out just enough time for dinner together while I’m in town reminded me of that place in my heart that dries out and atrophies living so far from these girls who have been in it forever. There is a comfort like family in the friendships, but better for having no older or younger, no voice of experience or being the tag-a-long. We went through it all together. New friends can tell their stories and appreciate one another’s pasts, but it’s too late to add anyone else who will share my memories of growing up. In every middle-aged face I see the teenagers we were. I remember the laughter and the tears and all the Friday nights. We knew each other as children and progressed together into womanhood.
And what women we’ve become! I am so proud of my high school friends. What they are doing with their lives is fantastic. It’s hard to believe that in 8th grade, as a 13 year old, I could have judged character so well, and yet, these are the ones I’ve kept.
Thank you, girls.