Carrie and I were best friends in Middle School. We sat next to each other in the first day of Choir in seventh grade, completely by chance, and ended up as friends. We were both awkward adolescents in our own ways, rejected by the majority of our classmates, and that fact was probably our biggest bond. I was a new kid at the school that year, too, and shy to boot, so finding friends wasn’t easy for me.
As with all friendships at that age, we had our ins and outs. Carrie had a very peculiar sense of humor, and if you didn’t know better, you might think that her jibes and insults were really meant. She liked to call me “Tech,” because I always used long, technical words, and she often poked fun at me for my long strides and fast walk. At dances, the term “wallflower” somehow morphed into “Wall Idiot,” her endearing term for my tendency to never actually dance, and especially not with boys.
She also never failed to badger me during the two months between her birthday and mine. Her mantra would be, “Ha, ha — I’m older than you!” (If you know how old I am, you can already see where this is going.)
During the summer after 8th grade, Mom separated from my stepdad, Tom, and so ended my stint in the North Central Local School District. Carrie (who opted to go by her full given name of Carolyn in high school) and I still stayed friends, visiting one another during the summers between school years. Even into college, I would borrow Mom’s car and drive from Medina to Creston to visit during breaks, especially summer.
We started to lose track of one another later in my college years, especially as she became involved with her then-boyfriend, now-husband Jeff. Still, though, we made sure to keep in touch somewhat, always making sure that we knew how to reach one another, should the occasion arise.
Not long ago — well, over a year now, I guess — I received baby photos from Carolyn’s mom, Candy. Shortly thereafter, I received an invitation to attend a baby shower for Carolyn. Of course, I Mapquested the directions to Carolyn’s house in West Bumfuck, Ohio, and drove the two and a half hours out to see her and her new son, armed with a soft and fuzzy teddy bear.
The coolest thing about the visit, besides seeing Carolyn’s new son, was hearing her call me her best friend again. It’s like that, isn’t it? Once best friends, always best friends, even if you have other best friends in the interim. Sure, we hadn’t seen one another in probably four years, but I still have the right half of our “Best Friends” necklace from circa 1988. 🙂
Tomorrow, I believe, Carolyn turns 30. I have a card all ready to send to her. My inscription?
“Ha, ha! You’re older than me!”
I’ve been waiting over 15 years to say that. Now I just need to unearth her mailing address…
Update, 10:35pm: Found it. Had to clean (well, sort) my entire desk area, but I found the baby shower invitation. Carolyn’s address is now in my Palm Contacts, synched to my iPod, so I won’t lose it again. 😛