Catching up with my oldest friend

June 15, 2007 at 8:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I first met Tiffany and her twin sister Misty on my tricycle. I was dutifully riding in a circle in my driveway, just as my mother had instructed. Tiffany and Misty, two doors down, were riding in a circle in their driveway, too, just as their grandmother had instructed. But being curious (and as their grandma would attest, “ornery”) they pedaled their way down to my house. A couple of toddler-esque introductions later, we became fast friends. I remember summer mornings when their screaming and playing in the street would wake up the entire neighborhood. I remember bossy little Tiffany ordering Misty and I to do her bidding. I remember how they incessantly teased my little sister, one time Misty insisting, quite fervently, that Jill’s name was spelled J-A-I-L. When I chose to stand up to Tiffany, saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” she scanned the ground for some sticks and stones, much to my horror. But it was all in good fun. When we were 10, they left for awhile to live with their mom and step-dad in Texas. I would call them long distance in the winter to brag about having a snow day, and they’d counter that they’d gone swimming that day. I thought they were so lucky.

A few years later, they returned to their grandma’s with a whole new colorful vocabulary, an interest in boys, and a slight addiction to Marlboros. I remember every morning walking down to their house so I could get a ride with them to school. I remember taping Beavis & Butthead and bringing it down to their house to watch after dinner, then returning after dark, looking up to see the constellation Orion as I passed that space on the sidewalk between our houses.

A tumultuous life of repeatedly moving in and back out of their mom’s house and dealing with an abusive step-dad had taken its toll by the time we’d gotten to high school. Halfway through the ninth grade, Misty got pregnant and dropped out of school. A few months later, despite my protests, Tiffany followed suit. You’d think being the straight-A, college-bound student I was, our friendship would have ended there. But it never did. I went off to MU, but I would always return on the holidays and summers to see how they were doing. By that time Tiffany had a son, and Misty’s daughter was fast approaching kindergarten. Tiffany got married, and I spent lots of time at her and her husband’s apartment playing with their kids–her daughter was born right before my Junior year.

Now we’re all grown up. Tiffany and Misty are both headed toward their second marriages, while my marriage is only a few years old. Misty’s daughter will be in 6th grade next year, which I still can’t quite believe. It won’t be long before Tiffany’s son is taller than me. Our lifestyles are as different as they ever were, but despite that, there’s an ease to our friendship. We never fault the other for not calling, even if it’s been years since we last spoke. I had dinner with Tiffany last night, catching up on all the drama and gossip, and it really hit me how much I’d missed her, and how much I’d missed Kansas City. James keeps warning me that he still wants a job overseas someday, but I’m hoping we’ll stay here for awhile. We’re planning to start house-hunting soon, and he’s talking about starting a master’s program in the fall. So that’s five years at least. But knowing us, something totally unforeseen will happen to muck up my careful plans. Always does.

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