Shortly after I started college, I met someone who changed my life. It didn’t take long for us to develop a relationship and soon we were doing almost everything together. We talked about everything and anything, shared stories, secrets, made sure we had each other’s backs, even vacationed together. For the first time in my life, I said “I love you” to another woman, who was not family. It wasn’t weird, it was never romantic; we were like sisters.
A little over a year later, things fell apart. It was the worst breakup imaginable. We said horrible things to each other, unforgivable things, and soon went our separate ways, taking different friends along with us.
A year or so after that, we ran into each other and had a civil conversation, almost pleasant. It was pure small talk, but we were nice to each other (if guarded) and genuinely interested in how the other had been doing.
Life went on. I finished college, got married, had a baby. But, I missed her. Instead of the feeling going away, I found it got worse. So, in a sentimental mood, I sent a Christmas card with a personal note to her at her family home. I was nervous about how it would be received and not sure if I would ever hear from her again.
She replied and we started corresponding via mail (back in the dark ages when you needed pen and paper and a stamp to affordably communicate with anyone outside of your area code). She was getting married and moving. We exchanged a few letters, very friendly and polite, but I was cautious. I didn’t want to get hurt again. As luck would have it, we were vacationing not far from her new home and we made arrangements to get together with her and her husband for dinner. She offered us her spare room for the night, but I declined. That felt a little too weird to me. I wasn’t sure our relationship had made it back to that point.
I was excited about seeing her, and very nervous. Dinner was great. We fell right back into our old ways (as friends do, even after long absences) and before our husbands knew what was happening, we had arranged for us to stay with them that night. We were back. Over the years, our families have grown and we all enjoy spending time together. She and I could not possibly be closer. We have talked about those “dark years” and honestly, neither of us really knows what happened. Perhaps we let other people get between us, listening to their “logic” instead of our what our hearts knew to be true. Maybe our relationship was too intense, defying conventions and a clear definition too much. What is certain is that we both regret the lost time and are happy that we found our way back to each other.
I have learned that I can never have too many loving people in my life. Loving one person does not diminish the love for another, in fact sometimes it makes it grow. Through her, my family has grown by five. I adore her children and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her. This summer has been a tough one for me, with continual reminders that we are only on this earth for a limited number of days. I am determined that mine be filled with love, not anger and regret.