Less than a week after I posted about my upcoming book on friendship, my very best friend from middle school to about 10th grade had a cataclysmic event and has been in ICU fighting for her life ever since. I pray for her daily, hoping she hangs in there, thinking about the people in her life who love her, hoping she can come back from this.
We haven't been friends for a long time, but you don't forget the bonds of best friends. We did everything together, and most of it was stupid, like eating cake mix out of the box, or braiding each other's hair so we'd have kinks, getting sunburned and peeling each other's back. Those were some good times and I never laughed as much as I did when I was with Shelly.
I had to dig deep through the archives in the basement, searching through boxes of photos of my life since Shelly and I were friends. Wedding photos, vacations, multiple albums for our children. My own childhood nearly forgotten at the bottom of a box tucked deep into the storeroom, with photos from a time before digital.
I have one photo of me with the girl who inhabited my everyday for four years, and it is nothing but a Polaroid from 1985. This is Shelly and I sitting on Santa's lap. My eyes are closed and I look characteristically awkward in my jean jacket with buttons that say whatever I had to say at the time, while she looks as cool as a cucumber. She was always the cool one, while I was awkward and weird.
And, because I found a lot in that box, I have to give a shout out to Pennie, who I accompanied to prom night for a school that wasn't ours. This was probably 1986, and feathered hair, puffy sleeves and satin dresses were cool.
And finally, I have to give a toast to the best friend who got me through the rest of high school, my rock, my friend, my Taco Time partner, Linda. We haven't been in each other's world enough lately.
Best friends mean a lot. I'm sure there is a saying out there that you only need one good friend, and that friend is precious. Celebrate yours, the friends then and now. And please, pray for Shelly. She has some tough odds, and she is a special light in this world. Best friends need to live forever.