I suppose that can be good or bad. In this situation, it has been very, very good.
Sometimes, when a person lives the kind of life that leads them into rehab not once, not twice, but three times... a life that creates a rift between themselves and their family in which there is no contact for years on end, and a parting of ways with many, many friends; some through death, some by choice, and others through incarceration...well, that type of life often means you've left a path of destruction in your wake, harming friendships along the way with illogical thought processes and random, irrational actions.
That defines a good 15 year segment of my life.
There was one friend who I parted ways with about 15 or 16 years ago. We had gone through Jr. high and high school together. We room-mated after high school. We were BFF's. We were inseparable. We went through some of life's most tumultuous trials and tribulations together, the teenage years. We also celebrated some of life's most triumphant and exhilarating times together, moving out on our own for the first time, getting our first cars, first love...
I never thought that anything could hinder the bond that we shared back then, but as is so often the case, young emotions and immature actions created a situation in which we stopped being friends for a long time. It pained me. For years I hurt over the fact that I had hurt my BFF and that she had hurt me. What I hurt over the most was that we were not ever able to talk and get past it. It was trivial, after all, what had hurt our friendship, in the grand scheme of things.
Then one day I was at work, outside on a smoke break and I saw her step-dad and her mom coming into the store...they were so excited, she had just had her first child and they were there to buy a card and a gift on their way back to the hospital to see her. I've always remembered her step-dad saying to me "You two have been too close for too long to let anything get in the way of your friendship. You really should talk."
It wasn't too long later that she did visit me at work, and we spoke a bit. It was awkward, but I was happy for her and she seemed to be in a much better place, as was I. That was 10, almost 11 years ago. I didn't see or hear from her again. But I moved, and she moved, and you know, people move on with their lives.
And then Facebook came along.
I searched her out when I first found my way to MySpace and Facebook, to no avail. Then, a few weeks ago, I had a friend request from long lost BFF. I was ecstatic! We emailed, we exchanged numbers, we talked, and talked and caught up. We made amends. This past Saturday, long-lost BFF came to visit the Wifester and I with her two children. It was so wonderful to see her again, and to meet her beautiful kids. We visited and laughed and cried and picked up right where I wish we had left off. Only this time, it's so much better. We've both grown and matured and have better perspective today, and we've done so in similar ways. It's wonderful to see how well long-lost BFF is, and how wonderful her children are, because that really is a testament to the job she has done, which is a testament to her character, which I never doubted about her.
Our lives didn't turn out the way we thought they would when we were 13 years old and hanging our heads out her grandparent's window to sneak a smoke, or when we were 18 and in our apartment and living off of Ramen noodles and saltine crackers.
Our families may be a bit different than what we had mapped out for ourselves back then, but they are perfect for us, and we are perfect for them.
Sometimes paths never again cross, and you are left with an empty spot where a true, honest, and sincere friendship used to be, never getting a chance to make amends.
I'm glad that's not how this story ended.
Long-lost BFF and I promised to keep in touch from now on and never-ever let anything stand in the way again.
LLBFF's daughter was amazing. She is a budding artist, and was just so excited to receive some of my excess art supplies.
Her son was a charming and handsome young man, and he went home with a new Airzooka, which I know he'll enjoy. I can't believe Wifester gave up her beloved Airzooka, but she said she wanted it to go to a good home, and to someone who will enjoy it. I think she chose the right kid!
A few hours after LLBFF left our house, she called to tell me to say that artist-daughter was already practicing some of the techniques I had taught her during her visit, and had announced that I was her new role model. "How's that one feel?" she asked.
"Oh, honey, I should be no one's role model, ever!"
I replied between laughter.
I'm happy to have reunited with my LLBFF. It really was a wonderful reunion.