Ten years ago, I received an email with a killer opening line.
“Hello. As my oldest and dearest friend, it’s high time we got reacquainted.”
She had me at hello.
I hadn’t seen my friend Libby for nearly a quarter of a century. Our parents were (and are) the best of friends and so were we for many years before an interstate move created a distance that we never quite overcame. Until that fateful email.
As we grow older, our ability to re-establish old friendship strengthens. Seeing Libby again, the same but different, the missing years fell away and we were back to being those two little girls who shared the same name and were born within three months of each other.
We could not have lived more different lives.
She was the Rock’n’Roll Chick, I was the Good Girl. Over the previous quarter century, she’d had lots of adventures, I’d had three children. She had been living in a big old mansion shared by lots of creative people; I had just left my marriage. But the disparity in our lifestyles, both past and current, could not have mattered less as we embarked on our journey of rediscovery.
There is something about old friends that restores our faith that some things remain steadfast, despite the apparent chaos around us. They show us that we can find a core of stability in our lives if we look for it; a stillness in the middle of the cyclone.
Friendships such as ours, rediscovered after a long absence, have the benefit of not being shaped by current circumstances. Old friends are not dazzled by wealth, nor are they deterred by poverty. They know us to be the same daggy schoolgirl at heart, in spite of all outward appearances to the contrary.
In her eyes, I am still young and full of life and promise.
Libby knew me before the complications of career, marriage and children shaped me into the “grown-up” the rest of the world sees today. My response in her company is to shed my middle-aged woes and resume my youthful high spirits.
She and I call each other by nicknames that only we and our parents still use. Hearing mine fills me with a happy nostalgia for those little blonde girls who shared the same pudding bowl haircut and uncomplicated mutual fondness.
And so began Chapter One of our renewed friendship (an ongoing work-in-progress) that has delighted our parents and energised us. Our first meeting was a series of stops and starts, too much to tell each other in a short space of time. We’ve had a decade of catching up since then and it still hasn’t been long enough to run out of things to say. A lifetime of friendship will do that.