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thoughts on old friendships

i recently finished reading something borrowed by emily giffin (the original version, not the one they published after the kate hudson movie came out..), and there was a very pertinent quote in the very last chapter:

"I wonder why I miss her and Dex does not. Perhaps it is because I've known her so much longer. Or maybe it's the very nature of a friendship versus an intimate relationship. When you are in a relationship, you are aware that it might end. You might grow apart, find someone else, simply fall out of love. But a friendship isn't a zero-sum game, and as such, you assume that it will last forever, especially an old friendship. You take its permanence for granted, which might be the very thing so dear about it."

because of new-age technology, namely facebook, the news of my engagement got around pretty quickly. about a week afterward, i received a text from a number that was not programmed into my phone, but that could never be erased from my memory nor from my heart.

it was my best friend from high school. i'm talking sleepovers practically every weekend for four years, getting into trouble together, eating lunch together every day, experiencing so many firsts together best friends. the text said, "Congratulations on your engagement!" and suddenly a floodgate opened up and so many memories came rushing back.

i guess it's necessary to explain that this girl and i haven't really been in each other's lives for almost 3 and a half, maybe 4 years now. i'm not going to delve into the gory details, but a lot came to a head and i think after breathing the same air for 4 straight years, we both needed a break. or maybe we just both had to grow up without each other.

i told her i wanted to get together to catch up. not only did i lose her when we had our falling out, but a handful of very good friends from high school also became casualties. in a strange and unfortunate way, the group to this day is still pretty much in-tact, but with an alaina-shaped hole that has faded completely over the years. i wanted to hear how everyone was doing and what everyone was up to.

the dinner went well, as i assumed it would. i know some people don't believe that time heals all wounds, but it sure does help a lot, i think. she filled me in on every one's whereabouts, as did i her, since she also knew a lot of the people that are still in my life.

she told me that one of my dear friends was now in the navy. he's been in san diego for a year and a half or some stretch of time like that, and was going to be coming home for the holidays. i told her i would love to see him, and she said that she would be in touch with me, which she did.

one week before christmas, i met up with them all at a local bar. i can't tell you all how fast my heart was beating. i made randy come with me, even though he had just been at work for 14 hours and had to be up early the next morning to help some friends move. we get there and i wanted to make sure i had a drink in hand before seeing everyone. i drank half of the bud light randy got for me like water. i scan the place and finally see a blurry figure who resembles my old friend. as i approach, i see looks of recognition with maybe a little bit of surprise as three of my closest guy friends from high school realize that i'm there.

things are still so much the same, but because of the passing time, so different - and that's the thing i can't shake. they all look like slightly older versions of themselves, but they still have the same boyish smiles as they did in the 11th grade. and of course my good friend, the one i had the dinner with, is the same as she has always been. but why do i feel so different from them now?

growing up is never without growing pains, and this one is very bittersweet for me. maybe it's because i'm entering another year in my life in a couple of days, or maybe it's because i'm getting married, but i can't help but be a little sentimental. a part of me is so sad that i've missed out on these friendships for years because of crappy circumstances. but i can't deny that the things i've gone through have shaped the person i am today. i tell you one thing, revisiting all these feelings have made me love randy even more, if that was even possible, because he was right there with me when all of my most cherished friendships faded away. if it wasn't for him, i wouldn't have been able to make it through all of that.

i don't know if i'm ever going to be as close with these people as i was back then, but i am so happy that i got to see them all again, even if it was only for that one small moment in time.

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