Thursday, November 22, 2007

A friendship rediscovered

Over the past few weeks I've been getting to know someone who used to be very important to me: My best friend from high school.

It began on a whim. I was on the phone with a friend who has kind of served as the historian of our group (he got a master's in library science, along with a law degree -- yes, he's very handy). He's kept up with the marriages, kids, surgeries and job changes of our loose gang of band nerds. I asked if he'd come across information about my best friend, and he said he had. He even had a phone number for her, and he e-mailed it to me the next day.

When I saw the number I picked up the phone and dialed. I didn't even think about what I would say. She answered on the third or fourth ring.

Instead of a hello, I heard an exclaimed "Deirdre?" in a voice I remembered well. She always sounded as if she was on the verge of a giggle, and it was wonderful to hear that hadn't changed.

"Yeah, hi!" I responded as soon as I got over the shock. Caller ID, I reminded myself. We chatted for a few minutes, and it was as if a long weekend had passed, not almost 20 years.

We've been catching up on each other's lives via e-mail. In her first note to me she attached some photos she'd found in a high school yearbook. There was a school portrait we'd taken together, both of us wearing overalls and red-and-white striped T-shirts. There was a photo of us in a chorus line of friends doing a Rockettes-style kick -- well, all except for me, the brown string bean in the middle with huge glasses and an unmistakable expression: "No. I will NOT kick." Meanwhile, she was on the end, grinning huge and captured mid-kick -- the short white girl with the mop of unruly black hair that earned her the nickname "Frizz." While we were alike in many ways, physically, we were different as could be.

My friend wrote that she married the guy she brought to meet me during freshman year, before the distance of attending different colleges drew us apart. She and her husband run an animal rescue operation. She still lives in Alabama and sometimes sees people we went to high school with. She's still got that tart sense of humor that revealed itself as she mentioned former friends who still live with parents, and those who married for status, or money or both. She says she's happy, and that makes me very happy.

My friend talks about us getting together. The mutual pal who gave me her phone number has been saying the same thing. Next year is our (gulp!) 20-year high school class reunion, which would be a perfect time to gather the old gang. Or maybe I'll just drive down to my friend's corner of Alabama and spend time with her and her husband, play with their rescued animals and see if this feeling of suspended time lasts.

Either way, I'm glad I made that phone call.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All I can say about attending high school anniversaries is... DON'T! I was so depressed after attending my 10th that I never went to another one. So many unhappy, divorced, or DEAD classmates! And there I was, happy and still married to my first (and only) husband. I felt so out of place and truly wished I hadn't gone.