Thursday, April 08, 2010

Lasting Impressions 21

Today's Lasting Impressions post was written by Ally, from Ally Writes; who composes incredibly beautiful posts with both words and pictures.

And when we both get older
With walking canes and hair of gray
Have no fear, even though it's hard to hear
I will stand real close and say,
Thank you for being a friend

She was the girl who got sick in sixth grade science class when we were dissecting pigs' lungs. She couldn't take the smell of the formaldehyde and got light headed. The teacher asked me to go into the hallway and sit with her. Honestly, I was pretty grossed out myself and saw keeping this little brunette girl company as an unexpected gift. I don't know what we talked about, but I do remember seeing her coming back to life, the color creeping back into her face.

We were both in band. I think that is probably her first memory of me. She played alto saxophone and I played clarinet. Off and on, our lives weaved in and out as the school years went by -- through band, through French class, through social events. In our senior year we shared a locker. She would bring her lunch in a soft red lunchbox that she would hang on a hook. She decorated our locker for homecoming. She was someone who was a comfort to me when a classmate died unexpectedly. She was smart and pretty and determined. Instead of feeling intimidated by her like some of our classmates, I admired her for being herself with no apologies.

We went our separate ways in college. She went to a state university and then continued on to grad school. I went to a smaller school and eventually moved to Las Vegas. Fast forward seven years and through the mixed blessing of social networking we found each other again. It started with a quick comment, a "hey, how is life" kind of thing. From there it snowballed into epically long emails about our lives -- about what we were doing, where we wanted to go, and who we were now, almost eight years since high school had ended.

When I moved from Vegas to the DC area last year, settling back into an in-person friendship was like pulling on a comfy sweater. She knows who I was and who I am now, and I find that that is a powerful connection to have. I love nothing more than to make her laugh -- to see her face get red, and see her body shake as she gasps for air. I love to have her stay for the weekend and play games till late. I love that when I introduced her to my husband she got along with him right away.

I'm incredibly glad that we found our way back to each other and that the weaving of our stories continues. Being friends with her keeps me grounded, lifts me up, and makes me a better person. I love you, Jen.

Have you reconnected with any former classmates now that you are an adult? How has it worked out?