We all know that guys can be great and gay guys even better (they will tell you when your hair is bad and go shopping for hours) but is there anything in the world as wonderful as a friend who’s known you long enough that you speak in shorthand (“Did you hear about…?” “Hello, of course, I did and I couldn’t believe…” “That it was…” “True? Oh yes.”)? I’ve always been an introvert but having had a set of friends like that and now spending the majority of my time alone has made me that much more aware of what a gift it is.
This past weekend I got to visit the land of girl time again when a dear friend came to visit. I knew I would be happy to see her but was surprised to find myself crying as we hugged. Not from sadness but from the sheer happiness of seeing her again. Or maybe a bit of sadness because I realized at that moment how lonely I have been; that just seeing this person was like a long cool drink of water when I had gotten used to being thirsty. Of having someone who knows me well
AND likes wine, movies, food, and shopping back in my life albeit only for 48 hours. Not nearly long enough and yet, it’s all right. When you find the important women in your life you can see them every day or not for five years without breaking the chain. The questions and answers begin to flow almost immediately and when there is a silence it’s not awkward. Unlike the silence of new friends where your mind is racing for the next topic with an old friend it is simply a companionable pause.
We all know we can make it alone. We can take care of ourselves and enjoy life but is there is anything more fun than that buzzy, almost drunk feeling of shopping with another woman? You’re not going to buy anything, you know you’re not, but you can flit from rack to rack saying things like “this would be so cute on you!” or “what do you think? Too frilly for me?” always with exclamation points because girl shopping is a joyous occasion. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’re 19 again and the world is full of new and exciting things.
It’s not just about the superficial although it is very nice to be able to run to someone and ask “Simple gold necklace or chunky statement necklace?” and get something other than the wary eyes you get from a man who is afraid of saying the wrong thing. There is also what began as boy talk in your teens and has now progressed to whatever is the focus at your stage of life. Dating? New to marriage? Trying to get pregnant? Job woes? All are perfect fodder for friends and at some point, will lead to laughter. Not that hot flashes are a laughing matter but if you’re going to have to go through them it’s much better with someone who can commiserate.
Shuree is gone for now but in our time we refilled our friendship and caught up on all we might have missed in the last 5 years. Not only is there is something about an old friend that is better than the most comforting thing you can imagine but it gives you hope that there may be new friends out there.