I hate losing contact with friends. My friends are very important to me but I'll be the first to admit that I get caught up in the rigamarole of life and push even those I love the most into the background. Don't get me wrong: if you're my friend, I'm your biggest champion and supporter and I love you. I can't tell you the number of times I've gladly stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking friends I haven't spoken to in months through difficult times. It's just a matter of them reaching out to me; I'm too oblivious to reach out on my own.
The reason I bring this up is because I just found out that one of my closest childhood friends had a baby boy 10 days ago. I didn't even know she was pregnant! The first decade of my life was spent with her as my constant companion. We bathed together, ate together, slept in the same crib together; my fondest memories from my childhood all seem to include her and my squeals of joy upon discovering that she is now a mother were genuine.
I attended her wedding a couple of years ago and couldn't help but feel sorry about how we were now strangers. She introduced me to all of her new friends as her first and oldest friend. But I felt sad as I watched these other girls twitter around her and make last minute adjustments to her gharrara and makeup. Perhaps it was because our friendship had always been so intense--we were more like sisters conjoined at the heart from the moment we met as infants--that we could never engage in the formalities of reconnecting.
It's as if we're content living with the memories we have and the knowledge that no one can take that away from us.
Rest assured that I will call her and I will congratulate her. We will express our disbelief about how the years seem to have gotten away from us and will make promises to keep in touch and meet up for dinner. We'll exchange email addresses again. We'll exchange cell phone numbers again. But we'll forget about the now as soon as we hang up our phones and for a moment as we sit by ourselves we'll both think back to something (gosh, there are so many inside jokes we can have: Scientists on the Run, Frederick and Kathleen, Highlights, Fida) from our childhood together, which will make us smile.
And that will do.