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Thursday, September 5, 2013

You've got a friend....

It is amazing what a profound effect it has upon me to see my old friend from high school. Having an afternoon with her sets my mind wandering for days and nights to come.  This time, as always, it was a horribly quick fly-by, and this time she was with other people.  My dear friend did not warn me that they were all Republicans as I confidently and comfortably (for how often can we left wing progressive liberals be confident and comfortable?) shot my mouth off.  Apparently it had no long lasting or ill effects....... of those other friends of hers did mention the "shared history."  That is the thing that, besides the fact that we still cling to the same - dare I say - liberal and democratic values we had as teens- binds us.  I have no one else.  I don't have family.  I don't have my first husband et al. My daughter only goes back about twenty years.  My friend and I - WE have HISTORY!

And then I lay awake thinking about all the amazing friends I have had the honor to have known.  Thanks to the internet I still "know" them in a way.  Not only was I reunited with two other friends from high school, but I was able to keep in touch with the astounding people I befriended in Michigan.

Yes, yes, I couldn't wait to leave Michigan. I couldn't wait to get back to the East Coast, to New York.  But I hated leaving the wonderful people who were my friends in Michigan.  They saved my life.  They supported me with actual money, with used clothes badly needed, with emotional and mental support and simple company.  They were there when I had to have a skin cancer removed from my face and put up with my nerves before and my giggles afterward (due to Valium).  They were there to help me move out of a house where I thought I would live my life, and into an apartment where I felt safe.  They were there when my autistic daughter disappeared one night and still there when she reappeared hours later with a big policeman. They were there for a birthday I didn't really want to acknowledge yet they made it not only bearable but fun. They were there at holidays to make it possible to feel that I was not alone and abandoned. And they were still there to help me make the major move back to New York.  I cannot find words to adequately thank them or have them know how much I carry them around in my heart and mind each day.  I've said for decades that I think god has a lousy sense of humor.  The irony that it took me fourteen years to finally make dear and wonderful friends in the alien world of Michigan (alien to me) and then have the one and only chance to leave them bears that out.

So now I am entering a new world.  I am making friends again, just as I did so many times before in my life.  It is uncertain, it is awkward, it is a slow and cautious process.  But, it is happening.  How strange.  How weird to feel like a kid again in some social situations as I feel my way around, as I try to reciprocate, as I try to be available, as I try to put my best self forward and yet not be untrue to the self I have fought all these years to find.
Nevertheless, I am eternally grateful to the wonderful friends - those beautiful girl friends I had in my teens who were there when my family fell apart and still did not reject me- and those open hearted amazing people in Michigan - who quite literally made my life possible, even if they don't know it.