There are people who appear in your life at just the right time; some exit at just the right time (often seems like the wrong time) and some refuse to leave when you need them to; others remain, no matter how great the time or distance between the two of you. Forty-four years ago, a new girl walked into my high school Russian class and sat down next to me in the only other chair in the room. In a class with one student and one teacher, she was a most welcome addition. Blonde, brilliant and friendly, she quickly made friends with others in the junior class, but we quickly became best friends.
We soon discovered that we were both artists, were interested in the same intellectual pursuits, and had crazy, dysfunctional families—the perfect basis for what has turned out to be a lifelong friendship. We both attended the same university after graduation, both studied Russian, and remained close during those years. Then, life intervened. She moved to San Francisco and our contact become sporadic, but always it was just like yesterday. She built a career as an independent artist, creating architectural renderings and conceptual illustrations for host of major corporations. I built a career as an artist specializing, at the beginning, in illustration and soon moving into graphic design and typography.
We both married and had two boys, though she years later than I. We both divorced and worked to provide for our children with absent fathers. But somewhere along the line, our lives diverged and contact became an irregular series of perhaps, once-a-year, surprise emails or phone calls. Each time we connected, we picked up right where we left off the last time.
When I emailed her a day of so before her 60th birthday, (I’m older by six months), my email was returned. Her inbox was full. I remember few birthdays apart from family, but I have always known hers. My need and desire to connect with her has consumed me since the Mailer Daemon returned my message. This morning, out of the blue, she emailed me to tell me about her birthday celebration, almost as though she knew I had been thinking of her. I called. Her delight upon hearing my voice was second only to mine upon hearing hers. Once again, we picked up right where we had left off the last time, sharing the stories of our lives as though it were just yesterday. The invisible, unbreakable threads that weave us together continue to sustain our friendship after 44 years. While neither of our marriages survived “till death do us part”, the odds seem much better for our friendship.