Two of my best friends are turning 40 within a month of one another. Glynis, my college roommate, already hit the 4-0 mark. My childhood friend, Amy, hits it in a couple weeks. While I’m not saying 40 is old, I will say that they’re both older than me, which means they’ll probably get dementia before me.
No longer will Glynis be able to tell the story about me laughing so hard, as we spied on the couple making out below our window, that I peed on her bed. Nor can Amy tell about the time I told the off-color joke at her dad’s dinner party… after she had ruthlessly begged me to… and no one laughed. Best friends just know too much. Deep dark secrets. Annoying habits. Embarrassing moments. But they also hold part of my history that no other friends hold.
Amy and I have known each other since we were about five. As the adage goes… we were like night and day. She was night – dark and evil. Me? I was sunshine. (You want to refute that, Amy? Get your own blog. :)). She may have looked like sunshine with her perfect blonde hair and those big, blue eyes. And maybe I looked like the night (or perhaps some people hoped it was nighttime when I came around) with my freckly face, buck teeth and white-girl afro. Pretty image, huh?
Amy was evil because she hated dolls. Once she had the audacity to throw my favorite doll against the wall of my bedroom just to make me crazy. I loved dolls. They were my world. Barbie and Baby Chrissy and the Sunshine Family. After the doll-throwing incident, cute little Amy went downstairs to ask my mom for a drink, and my mom gave her the bigger Coke. Obviously, I have never forgotten this injustice.
But as the years passed, and we moved one street over from Amy, I had things she wanted: a pool table and Intellivision, which was like Atari. So Amy, the little tomboy with the perfect blonde hair, became the girl who came over to play. Then she became my friend. And then my greatest confidant. When Amy’s mom’s cancer reappeared, after several years of remission, and she was confined to a hospital bed in their den, Amy and I sat in the kitchen nearby, not wanting to wander too far from her. Two little girls, facing something too scary to understand. Yet somehow we found a way to open up and trust each other with a our short, little lives of private thoughts and dreams.
Amy and I were inseparable until she left for Pepperdine and I stayed in the Midwest for college. I had never considered that one day we’d be apart. From our shaky beginning to our years as inseperable high school girls, we challenged each other, leaned on each other and llearned life lessons together. Sometimes we would even tell each other we were like twins on the inside, even though our outsides were so different. (By the way, my white-girl afro and buck teeth have been fixed but those freckles live on.) After college, Amy stayed in Cali, while I returned to our hometown. Yet she’ll always have a part of me, a part of my past that no one else has. Like blood, the river of childhood friendship runs thick. (I think I’m messing that cliche up, which is just more fodder to give Amy. She loves to make fun of me… like the time in sixth grade when she said that Steve Null had a big head and I said, “No, I think it’s just the way he got his haircut.” Who knew that meant he was conceited?!
And then there’s Glynis, my college roommate. College -those four years of life when it’s like living in a time capsule. Everything is happening for the first time and it’s all within a small environment with the few people that have chosen to go to this same school at this same time.
For the first time, I was on my own. She was on her own. The only difference is that she had to travel across the world to begin her college career. I just had a bit of a drive up a busy interstate. She came from the tip of Africa with her two suitcases and her duvet. I had a carload of clothes that wouldn’t fit in my dorm closet and a comforter. She spoke funny. I spoke like a valley girl, which I’m sure was funny in a different way. The first time we met, someone in a freshman group introduced me as Linda. I said, “It’s Lynn, no da.” That caught on and from then on I was Lynn-no-da. I loved Glynis not because she had a cool accent or because she had pictures of lions on her wall. I loved Glynis because she was vulnerable and humble. She wasn’t try to prove anything. And she knew how to tell a good story. Still does. Some of my greatest fits of laughter have been as an audience member to one of her tales. Hence the pee on her bed. I think Glynis has seen me at some of my best and worst times. From the birth of our little club, the Rookie Dookies, to some dark depression (and some serious moaning and groaning during my menstrual cramps that I’m sure she’d be happy to imitate for you), Glynie Pooh has walked with me as I would imagine a sister would have. It hasn’t been easy. The time after college is hard for anyone and sorting through which friendships are going to stick and which ones aren’t is trying. I thought I would be a friend who stuck. But the truth is, I wasn’t always very sticky. I had four children in five years. She moved to California, back to South Africa and then to London and now she lives in the States with her husband and nine year old son and I have yet to meet him. You can say it… I suck. But I love Glynis. I love her because she is so brave. She moved halfway across the world and tried something completely new. She listens as if she truly loves and she is so loyal that when my hubby was diagnosed with MS she called every week to check in on him. And this is when she lived overseas. Today I am grateful that after a brief “break up” we are back together, sharing funny stories, vulnerable moments and learning about life in the day-to-day worlds we live in.
God has blessed me with rich friendships and I thank him for these two beautiful, strong, courageous women. I wish I could share more about who you are because you are worthy to be known.
Happy Birthday — May your dementia work in my favor. I love you!