Friday, March 22, 2013

Musings on Friendship from La Jolie Femme Noire

2013 has given me a re-connection with some old, dearly treasured friends. It's been so unexpected and so satisfying; the happiness of it is overwhelming. And it's so much better now because we're not kids and we can talk with the ease of knowing one another at heart without the insecure, self-conscious anxieties of teenagers. Nearly 20 years after setting foot on a college campus here we are asadults who've been through dark and light.

The sheer harshness of those private trials and lessons, good and bad, that we've undergone out of sight from one another have stripped away the veneer that was so critical as adolescents to our survival and self-image when we only wanted to be part of the gang. To be accepted and liked. These reunions of renewed affection and affirmation remain illuminated by an after-glow of fierce and poignant beauty long after the phone is put down, the chat window closed

First impressions count. To be able to meet again -- having no idea what memories stand out in the other's minds, hoping that whatever asshole mistakes you made back in the day don't color a person's mind all these years later -- and finding that it's almost as if no time has passed at all.

It feels as if I stepped out of my dorm room to cross the hall to talk to a friend....only to realize that the journey took more than a decade. And upon finally arriving at that cross- the- hall-friend's destination, the conversation picks up exactly where it left off. It's the the same as it ever was and better.

What makes these renewed friendships so special is the absence of self-consciousness and insecurity this time around. The trust and comfort of being allowed to display your vulnerabilities, secrets, hopes, flaws and all. And still being loved for it anyway. Being interrupted by life in mid-sentence, resuming the conversation, without missing a beat, years later with the same affection, patience, excitement, and joy .

Only this time I have gained so much more. There is compassion in place where casual fear of rejection in the name of coolness once reigned; insight and wisdom replace youthful ignorance and lack of lived experience; expressing fear is met with a bracing shoulder to lean without judgement. But the best and last element of these happy unplanned restorations is that the pretentious posturing of adolescence has melted away you speak to your old friend's heart because you know what it is, where it is; beaten and bruised you know that it is no less full for the passage time. Old friends and wine mature slowly for the joy of savoring the fruits.

La Jolie Femme Noire
4:07am Friday Morning
March 22, 2013

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