“When was the last time we had a sleepover at my place?” I asked in to the depths of darkness with only slots of lights from the outside spilling into my bedroom.
Even without my glasses on that caused my sight to be as blind as a bat, I caught a glimpse of the bright full spotlight moon glittering. The ceiling fan was whirring, letting a gentle and endearing breeze circulate and sweep over my friend and I in the hottest of summer nights.
“I don’t remember,” my friend of over 20 years said to me.
It was quiet again. Quiet comfortable. You know that kind of quiet. The kind that you want to hug slowly and sweetly. It is the kind of quiet when you know you are really in good company and friendship when there is complete comfort in the quiet.
Breaking the silence, she asked abruptly, “Do you remember when we used to stay up until 4:30 in the morning talking at our sleepovers when we were just kids?”
I smiled in the dark. My eyes were half-closed, and my mind was shutting down. Sleep was catching up with me. She could not see my smile, but I did not doubt in the stillness of the sweet moments that she could feel my smile. I shifted in the bed and stared at the glowing numbers of the alarm clock. It read: 1:30AM.
“Yeah, I remember. It’s 1:30 in the morning,” I mumbled, half asleep.
“Yeah, I’m tired,” she groggily responded back.
We fell asleep. Before the serenity of sleep overcame me, I wanted to say to her that we were getting old because we were unable to stay up until 4:30am as we were in our youth. Before I would dream new dreams that would not make complete sense to me, I meant to say that her that this would be yet another memory in our over 20 years of friendship that would live on in my mind and make me smile in simple and sheer happiness.
Growing up, all I wanted was a best friend. I thought and really believed that a best friend was limited strictly to one person and one person alone that would be there for me no matter what. Possessiveness and jealousy would kick in if the one person I believed to be my best friend became friends with others. Somewhere along the lines and times of growing pains that accompany growing up, I realized that my circle was not so small and was like a wide open shopping mall that had revolving doors of people coming in and out. Some stayed for a little while to browse around the different floors or layers of me and my life. Some stayed a little longer for a certain rhyme or reason at that certain time. Some left quickly because it just wasn’t meant to be and not because of me. Then, there were the very, very few who stayed out of deep loyalty, history, connection, closeness, and comfort to always be there no matter all the ever-changing and different floors, displays, and items that came along in life.
Life is an intriguing and fascinating mystery and journey that has limitless people of faces and names. Friendships and relationships are slow, unfolding, and beautiful progressions filled with smooth movements and rough roads. As much as these friendships and relationships blossom on their own accord, having friendships that have lasted and that keep on going for over 20 years has also made me see that it takes work and efforts—not to be mistaken for force. There are ongoing waves with people at the high points and low points of life. Sometimes, the waves just crash with certain people to never be seen again or are not seen again until another time or place.
Not many people can say that they have been friends with people for over 20 years. Not many people can say that 20 years and counting have just made the time all the more precious with these people and the ties of friendship all the stronger that can withstand everything and anything. Not many can also say that they have been blessed with new friends and faces that have brought new graces and gifts to life.
But, I am one of those few people who can say this. I am one of the lucky people who live this. And, I am now the lucky one who realizes that I have never had a best friend that has only been limited to this fallacy of one. Rather, I am the one who tries to see the best in each of my friends who have enhanced my life and me—whether the enhancements have derived from history of over 20 years of friendship or the new breaths of fresh air that brings beauty in its own ways.
Real friends are hard to come by. Loyalty is a rarity and can shift quickly in changing times and circumstances. The tables of people and life are always turning and turning, or like a Lazy Susan spinning around and only stopping every now and then when needed and beckoned. Over 20 years ago, I never would have imagined that the girls I grew up with would ever be adults (or that I would ever be an adult) who survived and endured many growing pains all together. We were once the children that were taken care of by our protective and watchful parents, but now we are in the roles to care for them as they grow old and as we continue with the growing pains of growing up. Over 20 years ago, we stayed up until the crack of dawn at slumber parties at each other’s parent’s homes. We played with dolls, ate junk food, and girlishly giggled over what seemed so complicated at that time that we now see as simple. 20 years later, our parents are not in the household to hear our conversations that have manifested into philosophies of life and living while we eat pie and drink tea.
To be and have a real friend is more important than the non-existent best friend title. I no longer will ask anyone if he/she has a best friend. I now just ask: Are you seeing the best in your circle of friends? Are you being the kind of friend that you want to be treated? What is your idea of a friend? Has your life been so blessed with REAL friends rather than the fallacy of a best friend?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,