This Saturday, I left for yoga as the snow started. The snow that meteorologists were afraid to put numbers around, the snow that quickly blanketed my car so effectively that I felt TOTALLY GUILTY for not brushing off the whole car before pulling back out into my neighborhood’s main drag.
I was one of “those people” today. Sorry, neighbors. I hate “those people,” too, but I was not equipped for the extent of the snowfall, for which I point the finger at our wishywashy DC meteorologists. (Seriously, guys, you’ve done an awesome job this winter, UNTIL NOW. A-holes.)
After yoga, though, I had a coffee date with that friend that I mentioned from my days at MUHS, that friend I most often saw as a rival, undoubtedly because adolescents frequently seek out and then target the people who, in one way or another, have something in common with them. Under normal circumstances, she was friend material. Under adolescent rivalry standards, she was an adversary, a pre-internet frienemy.
And I knew that. I knew then that we could be Les BFFs. Thirteen-year-old me was totally aware that this was a person I liked quite a lot, but I regarded her suspiciously.
See, there was this boy…
To be fair, he was QUITE a boy. If I’m being honest, I’d say he was undoubtedly the model for “My Type” — the sardonic, sarcastic, skinny-ass male who understands every goddamn lecture but will only participate if the mood strikes him.
The lovely young man who won my heart early in my college years? The one who said “homunculus” in philosophy class and let me catch him reading Catcher (RIP, J.D.) in the stairwell? That he caught my fancy at all relates directly back to this boy in my junior high class — this brilliant, polyglot son of a college professor who wound up god-knows-where, but who, in my adolescent eyes, was torn between me and this smart, unusual, skinny brunette.
She’s still smart, unusual, and skinny. And because I don’t think she wants to be boyfriend-girlfriend with the boy I want to be boyfriend-girlfriend with (and because I’m not 13), our coffee date was way more fun than any of the classes we had together.
I feel like I knew her mom died before mine, like I’d heard it somewhere. That didn’t really matter, though. What mattered was listening to someone from my class, someone my own age who’s known me at my awkwardest (GAWD, the bangs and the bracelets…), talking about that kind of loss in words that were…so true to me that I nearly cried at the bald honesty. The thing is, you go through a lot of emotions when you lose a parent, and maybe there’s a special set for women who lose their mothers kind of early. And it’s hard to be honest about all those emotions with someone who hasn’t gone through it.
It’s hard to admit that you don’t feel devastated every single day, is what I’m saying. That relationships are complicated and that you can alternately feel devastated and relieved and empty and open, and it’s not. just. you.
What I might also have known, had I not been a twerp when we had our whole lives ahead of us, is that her experience of MUHS was much like mine. We’ve both now been gone a long time (and have each spent a lot of time in California, actually), and it seems like our perspectives, looking back, are more aligned than 13-year-old twerpy me would ever have expected…to say nothing of who we are, now, and how we think and see the world.
In short, I think she’s swell. I hope we get a chance to be the friends we never got to be when we were teenagers.