The Girlfriends Reunion
I walked into the crowded Sunday morning scene and made my way through the throngs of brunch-goers until I found them. There they stood, Fern, Jackie, and Linda, waiting patiently at the front of the line.
Amid hugs and laughter, we complimented each other's clothes, shoes, nails, handbags, and of course, the most important feature....hair!
"I got blonde highlights!" I exclaimed, much to their approval. "I can't believe it took so long, now I'll never go back, since it does such a great job covering up the grey!"
They all nodded in empathy and reluctant understanding.
It had been six months since our last gathering, and despite our best efforts to close that gap of time between visits, life just gets in the way.
Our bonds of friendship formed during those first, few uncertain weeks of our freshman year at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Eager to put my awkward high school days behind me, I embraced college life with a vengeance and couldn't wait to make new friends.
I spotted Fern on campus almost immediately. As young girls who lived within walking distance of one another, we had witnessed the closeness of our elementary school friendship fade as we chose different high schools...and different paths. Perhaps fate put us both at the same lunch truck during our early days at Temple. We reconnected....and never looked back!
Next came Linny. I didn't know when I walked into the crowded lunch room of the student activities center that a life-long friend awaited me among the sea of unfamiliar faces. She sat at a table with a girl I knew from high school, who also happened to be the only person I knew in the jam-packed room. Not wanting to suffer the indignity of (gasp) eating alone, I walked over to her table and timidly said hi. I received a warm welcome from my high school friend, who introduced me to the rest of the bunch. Linny and I chatted like old friends, and when we decided to exchange phone numbers, we both pulled a small phone book with the same exact cover design out of our bulging book bags! We knew, right then and there, we had connected...and we never looked back!
(*Note to my younger readers: back in the day of the dinosaur, we actually had to hand write phone numbers onto the pages of a book, instead of using the "will not be invented for another 25 years" smart phone)
Jackie and I solidified our friendship sitting in a booth at a local diner in the waning hours following a frat party. Introduced by a mutual friend who shared the meal with us, our unabated laughter echoed of the walls of the nearly empty establishment. "She's one of us!" Jackie proclaimed to our mutual friend. And with that, we connected....and we never looked back.
The priorities of our college years seem almost laughable now.
-lunch and gas money
-did I mention boys?
The intervening years since college have been at times, exceedingly kind, and at times, full of challenges.
Graduation parties gave way to first jobs, second jobs, third jobs, and lost jobs. We sent wedding announcements and birth announcements. We rented apartments and purchased first homes. We moved away and moved back home again. We have laughed together, cried together, discussed, and debated. We have let months go by without contact, then picked up where we left off...as if time had no boundaries. We watched our babies grow up and our parents grow old, and sadly...said goodbye to some of them who left us forever.
Now as we sat together, sipping coffee and eating omelettes, the conversation ranged from raging hormones to overactive bladders to everything in between. We complained about our teens, and bragged about our teens, and shared pictures of our teens. We wondered where the time went and why we were getting invitations to join AARP, all the while struggling to see the menu without our reading glasses.
We begged the waiter to ignore the line out the door and let us stay longer....to laugh longer....to support each other longer.....to enjoy being with each other longer.....for just a few precious moments longer. For we knew, all too soon, goodbye would come, we'd return to our worlds, and this brunch would become nothing more than a memory, although a good one at that.
We reluctantly paid the bill and lingered outside, braving the slight chill in the early spring air in our attempt to extend the visit just a wee bit longer. Finally, as we hugged each other one last time, we promised to not let another six months go by without getting together again.
Then we each got into our cars, tucked our memories safely away, and returned to the routine of our lives.
Fern, Jackie, Linda, and me ...not wanting to say goodbye!
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