Friday, March 26, 2010

Part Two - Friends

So few people in their lives meet a person with whom they will bond forever. I met mine in the first grade. Mrs. Cavet's class to be exact. We were both six or seven - and we both liked the same boy... not in the same way we would like boys later in life - but all the same, it became a competition. The day we became friends one such boy was the cause. 
Standing in line next to "the boy" (who remains nameless because I have no idea where he is today) was a special treat for either of us, and on this particular day it was my turn. Being first graders, we were made to hold hands in two lines - boys in one, girls in another. This processional took us to the cafeteria, playground, or bathrooms depending on the time of day. This was long before the days of modern schools where bathrooms are right outside the classrooms, it was a hike in our Elementary school - which still stands today, and educates hundreds of little girls and boys just like us every year. 
We walked to the playground this day, hand in hand and I chattered away about swings, slides, and see-saws - the boy was mine for recess, and I intended to take advantage of it! The doors opened, and the playground was ours. It was just at that moment that I hit the ground... I looked up in time to see her hand in hand with him... 
She was pretty, long chestnut hair, beautiful eyes, and manners that rivaled even Emily Post. And she had just tripped me up, and stolen the boy!
Immediately, I was on my feet and across the playground... nobody puts me on the ground and gets away with it... and this is where memories get fuzzy. I cannot remember what was said, or done - but I remember one thing... That girl became my best friend that day. A friend that today, 38 years later I can still call in the middle of the night and cry to... A friend that no matter what it was, would be there in an instant if I needed her. 
No matter how many years or miles separate us we are still best friends. We still are the only ones that know the deepest and darkest secrets of the other. We know what the other's childhood dreams and goals were, and we know which of those dreams came true, and which was ripped away like so much wrapping paper. 
For the next six years of our lives we were totally inseparable. We spent weekends at each other's houses - or in my favorite place, the family sailboat. Many memories were made on the Chickamauga Lake - by two young girls who knew nothing but freedom, peace, and love. We had never been tainted by tragedy, sickness, or death. Our outlook on life was full of childish idealism and it was perfect. I would not change a moment of those years, and I'm pretty sure that Kim would not either. We were two girls living the life of Riley, and loving every minute of it.  
But as in most things in life our time was not to be forever. Things change rapidly when you are a child. And intertwined in all the changes are opportunities for growth. As things changed in our lives, we continued our friendship into the rich and wonderful relationship it is today. 
There were other friends along the way in those years, but none who impacted my life in the way Kim did... and none that I even know where are today. 
That is the way of the childhood friendship - some stay, and some you never see again.


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