Today made me realize a lot about the life I had and the friendships I forged. I spent an entire evening standing in the late afternoon sun reliving memory after memory with every familiar face I cast my eyes on. It left me with a warm, fuzzy, heady feeling. What seems like a lifetime ago is now a tsunami of endless memories.
My childhood best friend and I have maintained our friendship through 32 years. We live miles apart now but everytime we see each other it’s like time and distance never came in the way. Seeing all my childhood friends today made me realize how good we all had it. We forged friendships we never thought would take us through our lives. Thinking back to those bonds I get a deep sense of hope, trust and friendship. When we meet it’s like we’re still the way we were back then except for the little maturity and sly strands of gray hair daring to show themselves.
Like every group of growing children we had our moments, we fought like siblings, we bonded over endless games of cricket, football, hours of cycling and “adventuring”, “secret” picnics, long walks, summers on the beach. We saw each other through the best of times and the worst of times. Scraped knees, broken hearts, shared chocolates on midnight walks. Yes, we had our moments but the memories are forever.
Looking at all the faces around me today made me feel like I’ve said bye to an important part of life but deep down I know I will always be a part of that life and that life will be a part of me. More than twenty years have gone by and we’re all in touch with each other. We live in different areas now, spread out over different neighbourhoods, some of us are across the globe but the emails and phone calls are still there even if they are sporadic, even if it’s just to say a quick “hiya”.
Secrets were shared within the group before it went anywhere else. We were a group of eight, we had others come and go but again the bonds were permanent even though the keeping-in-touch part wasn’t. Friendship was innocent. We were all close. One by one we grew up, went off to University, left the country to work. We moved apart, moved away from the neighbourhood. I left the neighbourhood almost six years ago. Through this time the bonds never broke. When we meet we talk about the fun we had, sneaking into “abandoned” houses, exploring construction sites, going places we were not allowed to go to, we had some really good days.
Sometimes when I look back at that life it seems like a fairytale. Living in a sleepy little colony, close to the beach, watching magical sunsets just before we all headed back to our own homes. Making up stories to stop the younger ones from tailing us. There’s so much to smile about. Every memory with my childhood friends, the ones I grew up with and spent a chunk of my life with, leaves me smiling like a circus clown. Sometimes I wonder if it was just me who took these bonds seriously but when I meet my friends and we hang out, I know these bonds meant something to all of us. We meet now and we’re with our spouses, some of us have children, we share our stories with them.
It’s all been such a vital part of shaping me into who I am today that I can only be grateful to them for teaching me how to love my friends and how to hold on to friendships for dear life. Special bonds are created by mutual understanding and by total acceptance of what the other person is. We learnt that. We learnt to live with our differences and nurture them and even use it to our advantage. So many different personalities coming together and getting along. It doesn’t get better than that.
In times of trouble we know we’re just a phone call away. There’s no doubt in my mind that my friends will come through for me. Sometimes it’s all about seeing that one familiar face in a crowd and knowing everything is going to be all right!