I don’t remember the day we met. It was so long ago and we were so young. As I grow older, the years begin to merge and while specific moments stand frozen in my mind, the general details become fleeting in the passing time. I do remember the day was warm and bright as was the smile always on your face.
I don’t remember when or why we drifted apart either.
I do remember that in an ever-changing world you were a constant. Through the rough patches, the growing pains, and all the awkward childhood moments you were there. Always with a kind word, a warm smile, and ready to share.
There was some bond we had. Definitely friendship and perhaps love. I don’t know – we were just too young. I do remember our tree by the lake. Our special meeting place where we shared our hopes, dreams, tears, and laughter. This place was sacred because it was ours – together. There was no judgment or shame. Nothing from the outside world could hurt us here.
At 16, I do remember the note you passed me in school that asked me to meet by the tree at 5:00 pm. I found you in tears. You were moving to a new town five hours away but regardless, best friends we would stay.
No computers, social media, or cell phones in those days. However, we tried our best to maintain what we had built. Phone calls, letters, and sporadic visits were great. But, something changed. Passing time, new experiences, friends, college, and jobs presented new challenges to our friendship. The phone calls became fewer as did the letters. Just not enough time and so much had changed.
I thought of you as the years passed. I wondered where and how you were. In a new social age, I found you on a social media site, to my surprise, looking no different after so many years. Two divorcees rebuilding, searching, armed with new vigor and hope.
A message, an answer, and a friendship renewed. We picked up just as things were before. After some time, I asked you to come home, spend some time with me, and see the old town where we used to roam.
You gleefully agreed and we set a date, with the hope that we could renew what began so long ago and make it right this time.
But you didn’t show. I texted and called – wanting to know why- voicemail my only reply. Second thoughts? Cold feet? With hurt feelings, I went to bed, tossing and turning, without sleep. Suddenly drifting off, I was awakened in the night by the phone and a number I didn’t know.
“Hello,” I groggily answered.
Heavy breathing and sobs was my greeting.
“Hello?” I inquired once more.
In between sobs the caller identified herself as her friend and told me there had been an accident on the way. Her words were muffled and broken but it didn’t matter as I fell to the floor, I knew our friendship was no more.
She said she had spoke of our renewed friendship for months and this meeting for days. Her excitement at reconnecting unlike anything her friend had seen.
After the call, I knew what to do. I got dressed and walked to the tree by the lake – the sacred place reserved for you and I. Here, nothing could ever hurt us but still I cried, reflected, and wondered why. The truth – the place was sacred when we were together, but together we would never be, the place now stands ordinary for only me.