February 1, 2020
The Starbucks seems packed but tables remain open. It’s a comfortable bustle, unintelligible conversation echoing up to the lofty ceiling with exposed beams, painted a sleek, steely black. I feel slightly guilty about my Venti Medicine Ball.
Keith and I vowed to cut our Starbucks spending. I sip my tea and console myself with the fact that it’s not a bloated, high-priced Italian-inspired coffee.
The two college-age girls at the round 4-seater next to me share in intimate conversation, the kind only besties can have. One animatedly moves her hands and nods her head, bobbing it over and over like a bobble-head on a hoopty dash. They are in stark contrast. Both with long dark hair, but one wavy, one stick straight. The straight-haired girl speaks with a wide, cheeky smile, arms open and inviting, high-pitched giggles erupting from her intermittently.
While … the wavy-haired one holds everything in at the seams. Her arms hugged tightly to her chest. It reminds me of a little girl holding her blankie. Her fleecy jacket resembling the coating of a favorite teddy bear.
My best friend and I are starker contrasts. Her wispy blonde hair against my thick black-brown bob. I’m olive-toned. She’s porcelain-skinned. I’m an average build at 5’ 3” – plain Jane, girl next door, modest and often a wallflower.
Maayan is petite and fiery, speaks her mind, expects what she pays for. She always knows how to engage people. Always has the right thing to say – resourceful and hell-bent on helping those she loves.
When my mom broke her leg – she scoured Nextdoor. She had a state-of-the-art shower chair and sundry items packed in her car within 24 hours of flitting around town picking up donations – at 8 months pregnant.
We are opposite in ways and alike in the dedication we have to our close friendships. Maayan has taught me to channel the veracity I need when fighting for my mom and my children. It’s funny how friendships connect us to the traits we desire.
My close friend Ilka – blunt, no-nonsense, and to the point. The kind of person you want on your side in times of crisis. The kind of friend who challenges you when you’re wrong, but supports you to a fault.
She has taught me to protect myself, trust my inner voice, and stick to my boundaries.
I see so many things I adore and want more of in the friends that surround me.
I look up when a voice pulls me from my reverie.
Another friend, the reason for my coffee-shop foray.
“Hey! I missed you. How are you?”
She says it with complete authenticity.
No matter how brief, how long-distance, how many years have rolled by, friendships are with us forever. We carry them in our hearts. Some piece of who we are has been dedicated to the growth or loss of each friendship.
We wear them as badges of honor or soul-wrenching scars. They teach us and mold us and often hold us back from falling into the trenches. My friend reaches out for a big hug. And I hug her tightly.
I say, “I’ve missed you, too.”