This whole moving shenanigan has given me the privilege of spending time with some of my dearest friends. Unfortunately, our lives don't cross often enough. But, when someone declares relocation, the blessing of time is always made. In the past couple of weeks, I have seen several of my closest and oldest friends.
Jenni and I have been friends since high school. We rolled together, in our gang, The LOOPs. If you're curious, LOOPs stood for Last Ones On the Planet. It was spearheaded by, and thus, fairly exclusively limited to, the five core members. In essence, however, it extended to anyone who had not had "the sex." The tribe was concocted during our senior year when one by one by one, we discovered that another friend or acquaintance had thrown her virginity out the metaphorical window. It seemed, at times, that we were literally the last ones on the planet who thought it was worth saving. We are now both happily married and have had different life experiences since graduating from high school but, whenever we get together, I feel a little bit like Samantha and Teensy from Now & Then. Even though I'm no longer the actor and she, well, is.
Jayni is actually my most antique friend (that I am still in contact with). We became friends sometime during the year that I was seven and she was six. No matter how old, beautiful and successful Jayni gets, she will always be that scrawny little seven-year-old in the gigantic cast at my 8th birthday party. And the two of us have the gift of gab, indeed. I think you could put me on Mars for thirty years and then plop me down in Jayni's living room and the two of us would be able to talk for another twenty about the experience. The duo of Jayni and me is one of Troy's favorites. He finds us uproarious. It's good be to be found funny. We were never "best friends" but our steadfast friendship has endured 19 years...and counting.
Kelli was one of my roommates in college. She was one of my bridesmaids. I was one of hers. She now lives in Washington with her hubby but was down for a visit because she is also my token genius friend. Everyone needs one of those, by the way. She is getting her doctorate from UCSD and had to have meetings or something or other on the campus, so she killed two birds with one stone and got together with me while she was here. Kelli is just one of the nicest people I know. For example, in college, during freshman year, my roommate and I were oil and water and it was Kelli's (and Michelle's) room that I slept in when I decided to pretty much move out of my room. Through the huge trial of living with someone who blew her hair dry two feet from my sleeping head, God blessed me with a lifelong friend.
I hated Kristin when I met her. The story is long and involves the pathological liar, but all that really matters is that it took me about two months to realize that Kristin was, indeed, a good apple. One of the best, in fact. It might have had something to do with the beached whale costume. Kristin and I are really quite different. She's talent and, well, I am enthusiasm. She gets lost every time she comes to my house but seems to have mastered the New York subway system, a network of trains and tracks and entrances and exits that boggles my mind. But even though she has a propensity toward misplacing herself, she braved the freeways and came to visit me because she's swell like that.
Cassie/Cassandra moved to Ramona when we were in the 2nd grade. We were insta-best friends for a year. Then we had some kind of elementary fallout and loathed one another until middle school. From then on we were extremely close again, taking production classes together, swimming on the same year-round team and the Varsity high school team together, going on camping trips, etc. At age seven, we pretended to stage plays in her basement. At age 14, we pretended to be famous. At age 18, we pretended that college wouldn't distance us. It did, as college often does, but you can put us in a kitchen, around plates of Caesar salad, and it's like we're those same little kids. We run in different crowds, but then, we kind of always did. Our lives are as different as night as day. She takes a taxi around New York City and flies to Norway for the weekend and I drive my Santa Fe with the baby in the backseat. Still, sitting at her table, laughing and learning about her life, I can't help but catch a glimpse of the teenagers we once were, running down to the basement to finish a project, or the seven-year-olds off to put the finishing touches on their play.
These are a few of my good friends. They are diamonds in the rough. Of course I have others, these are just the ones that I have seen over the past two weeks. Others are in their own cities in their own states with their own lives and I miss them. I once had a picture framed in my room that said, "Dear friends are like antiques. They become more precious as time goes by." I've been friends with Jenni for about eleven years, Jayni for nineteen, Kelli for eight, Kristin for seven, and Cass for one plus thirteen. It's true. They are all so much more lovely to me than the day I met them.