Friends and Family

My group of friends from college all met one another, more or less, within the first week of school our freshman year. Friendships have evolved and shifted over time, of course, but–despite all of us dotting the country like lakes dot Minnesota–we’re still intact. We have a lot of love for each other. And on those precious occasions when we do gather, we love to express it: our reunions are always filled with blissfully excessive quantities of cuddling, hugging and liberal lavishing of the phrase “I love you.”

This weekend we gathered for a wedding: the first among our intimate clan. You won’t be surprised to learn that I really, really did not want to leave. I mean, I seriously contemplated ditching my flight out of Cedar Rapids this morning and catching a ride to Minneapolis with a few folks instead. If not for Bonita, I probably would have done it.

I know as well as anyone that it takes time to find community and get settled in a place–certainly to build the kind of collective love so many of us find during college. I also know that I’ve got a pretty respectable cache of folks here in Albuquerque considering it’s just coming up on one year since I moved. But there’s a difference between friends who are friends and friends who are family.

I’ve spent the past week–first in New York, then Washington, and finally Iowa, for the wedding–surrounded by the latter. And as thankful as I feel to have people in my life who are so so loving, so loyal and so affectionate (not to mention so good with a Sloop John B harmony), I can’t help but be reminded of how exhausting it can feel to spend the bulk of my time without them.

“I don’t want to go home without everyone else,” I murmered to one of my girls last night, as we took a break from our salsa dancing to mesh fingers and sip beer. “It’s tiresome.”

“I know,” she said. For both of us, the loneliness of being apart from friends is compounded by that of being single.

“The thing is,” she said, “is that when our parents were our age, they were already married with families.”

I said, “I know.”

“And the thing is that I don’t want to be married yet.”

I said, “I know.”

“But I would have liked to have met the person I’m going to marry–” she checked her watch “about two years ago.”

I said, “I know.”

She went on to explain, with not a little frustration, how competent she is in all areas of her life besides finding the right guy. I knew that too.

What I didn’t know was that, as she told me, she keeps a photo of us two on vacation a couple of years ago above her computer: a photo of us writing postcards.

“It reminds me,” she explained, “of how important it is to keep in touch with everyone. Even if writing or calling is the last thing I feel like doing.”

I loved that. Cause I’ve been through a lot of guys over the years, and I’m not sure I’ve learned much. But I’ve also been through a lot of friendships, and what she reminded me of last night is something I do think I’ve learned: that even though it’s tough–even exhausting–to live far apart from your dear ones, it’s less tough the better we become at staying in contact.

A few hours later I bid reluctant farewell to another of my closests, the one whose car I really wanted to jump into instead of coming home.

“I don’t wanna go!” I whined to him, demanding to know the next time we’d see each other.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “But don’t worry. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

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2 Comments

Filed under Love Life, Womanhood

2 responses to “Friends and Family

  1. Heather

    This makes my heart tingle with love.

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