Grace and I have been friends for 41 years. We were roommates for four years, we got married around the same time, our children are fairly close in age, and we have always lived within ten minutes of each other. Although we look nothing alike, when we go out people often ask if we are sisters.
Our story began as two crazy party-all-the-time teenage roommates having adventure, after adventure, which means we have a vault of secrets that we keep safe for each other. A vault with a combination so locked down that it could never be cracked.
Then we settled down. Both of us married, had careers, children, houses, developed interests apart from each other, and navigated the nuances of life. We even collaborated on a beautiful inspirational book. I wrote poetry set to Grace’s watercolor paintings that we printed and sold locally.
As life would have it, both our daughters (who are also good friends) have gotten married within months of each other. Grace helped me pick out my mother-of-the-bride dress, and in turn, I helped Grace find the perfect dress. When we were younger, we never sat around and mused that one day we would be buying dresses for our children’s wedding together. But here we are, 41 years into our friendship and this is where we’re at in our cycle of life.
When we celebrated my daughter’s wedding in April, Grace was there with her whole family. I was grateful, it was fabulous. I was busy talking to all the other guests but held tight to Grace’s hand whenever I saw her. Yesterday, we celebrated her beautiful daughter’s wedding. Watching my daughter walk in her wedding, and having my whole family with me, I was able to relax and enjoy this wonderful rite-of-passage our friendship was experiencing.
Ours is one of those friendships that have weathered many storms. Not the storms of strife and arguments, but the storms of life. We have been there for each other through great joy and deep sorrow. This past year, we have experienced both. But the joy of watching our daughters find their respective soulmates and marry in ceremony’s that befitted their personalities put a lot of things into perfect perspective.
As Grace and I, alone on the dance floor danced to Beat-It last night at the reception, instead of two middle-aged women, we were 18 years old again, standing in our apartment dancing with candlesticks as microphones using the windows facing the woods as our audience, knowing exactly how each other was going to move and twirl.
When we are old and live next door to each other in the assisted living home, or a tiny house community, blasting Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and all the other bands of our youth, I’ll still look at her, and with a wink and a smile say, “A good friend will bail you out of jail, A best friend will be sitting next to you saying…damn that was fun.”
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