We’ve been friends for nearly forty years. She and I met when we were five years old. You do the math. On another day, I’d fudge about my age, but today I’m in an oh what the hell mood. We rode the school bus together when I moved here from a Chicago suburb halfway through my kindergarten year. We were so small we shared a seat with two other girls. She was my first friend in a new school. Most of you can relate to how important that friend can be. We hit it off from the very beginning. We wuz like peas and carrots, as Forrest says. Me and E. shared the same interests. We both liked music and art. We both played the flute, we agreed on which boys were cute and which boys weren’t and we had similar tastes in clothing, books and music. For thirteen years of school, we were elbow to elbow, literally. In classes....
In marching band.
Cheerleading. (Hey, there’s M.! Everybody say hello to M.)
And beyond. We shared just about every milestone event a body can have during his growing up years. I was there for her wedding.And she was there for mine. We encouraged each other through college, exchanging letters when she moved out of state. And we shared the joys of childbirth when she moved back. Careers and families have kept us from spending much time together in the last twenty years, but we’ve stayed in touch, and on those occasions we are together, we iz like peas and carrots again. Like during our high school reunion when we spent the evening huddled in the corner chatting ninety miles an hour and trying to decide if P. had had a boob job. (Oh, yes she did!) And our elementary school reunion last year where we laughed the night away at old memories and fell into our usual pose for the group picture. I love that our friendship is still comfortable. That we haven’t lost touch all these years later. And that we probably never will. I am a lucky gal, indeed. That’s why when April rolls around each year, I go hunting for a silly birthday card for E.. It’s her birthday month, and those birthday cards are our way of saying, “Hey, we’re still on this bus together.” Happy birthday, E.