Recently, after reading a list of things people regret when old, I thought of another: letting close friends drift away.
Not keeping in touch with those who shared your path through life is easy, but the resulting loss is great. That’s why Charlie and I, separated by hundreds of miles since our college graduation, continue to talk on the telephone: long and merry chats that cause our husbands to look askance at us.
During a recent call, however, we didn’t laugh until we spluttered. Instead, I listened with concern as my best friend since 7th grade, college roommate, and secret keeper described her recent, unexpected, critical health problems.
As I realized the seriousness of her medical condition, I felt like a piece of my heart was being torn away. The refrain, “I can’t lose Charlie. It’s too soon, too soon,” echoed in my head.
In the days following our conversation, I thought about the girl who rode her bicycle into the driveway of my family’s home in a new town and called, “Hey, you, come here. Let’s talk.”
Charlie had found me, and she stayed with me for the rest of my life.
I’d like to share a memory from the first semester of our freshman year in college, a memory that illustrates the way we were:
We enrolled in badminton for an easy PE credit. We’d played for years with my siblings: fierce matches that ended when my brothers’ mentally challenged dog ate the birdie or someone used a racquet in an unsportsmanlike manner.
As finals week approached, Charlie suggested we buy the required text the instructor had told us to study over the course of the class and study it.
“That’d be a waste of time and money,” I replied airily, “We went to every class, participated the entire time, and played better than most. We know the rules and can keep score. Besides, have you ever heard of a written test in PE?”
On the first morning of finals, a classmate asked at 9:30 if we’d studied for the 10:00 badminton test, which, we discovered as we gripped our pencils and guessed, focused on the sport’s invention, evolution, and legendary players.
We each received an D- on the test and a C- in the class.
Charlie did speak to me again, but only after making me promise I’d ask nicely—every day for two weeks—if she’d like me to buy her a cherry coke at the student union. Furthermore, I would smile as I bought it and keep grinning as she drank it.
Lately, our telephone conversations have increased; my forever friend is slowly improving; and memories of her are ever-present.
Don’t let your important friends drift away. Eventually, you will lose one another, and when you do, it will be too soon—and too late to reconnect.
Have some thoughts about today’s post?
Please leave a comment below.
And please forgive me
if I don’t respond right away.
I’m cruising with my sister and niece.
Can you smell the sunscreen?
And hear the chatter?