Friendship. For many women, including myself, the word friend–let alone the actual friendship–can be complex and complicated. Indeed, the portmanteau frenemy, defined as one who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy, is not a recent creation. It is as with any relationship, I suppose, that jealousy, petty annoyances, impatience, and pride, may cause a divide. Although friendship is unique to other relationships, such as relatives or colleagues, because one is able to choose one’s friends. We are born into our family, marry into our partner’s family, are thrown together with co-workers because of our expertise or skill-set, identify with classmates from our Alma Mater, and feel a spiritual kinship with those who attend the same house of worship, gym or local coffee shop. But our friends are those few individuals with whom we click. We want to get to know them; they want to get to know us. And despite doing so, we still have an affinity towards one another.
My close friends are vastly different from one another. Some are married, some aren’t. Some work, others don’t. Some are financially well-off, others struggle. Some are parents, some are not. Regardless of wealth, career path or marital status, I can ring any one of my friends and begin a conversation as if we never stopped talking. They know my family. They know my past. They know my heart. And they know my friends–if not by personal introduction, by name.
Like all weekends, this weekend was precious. Weekends are our family time. And weekends are our free time. But this weekend also was one of our last in San Diego. Indeed, we have two weekends before movers begin to arrive; and, three weekends before we move out of our home. So what did we do this weekend? We spent it with friends visiting us from Arizona. To be certain, they are not just any friends, but good friends. I’ve known her since kindergarten; I’ve known him since before they were married 17 years ago; and, I’ve logged many hours with their three children. They are the kind of friends that fit you like your favorite well-worn cashmere sweater–they warm you, they comfort you. They are people with whom I can spend all day and not be bored or annoyed. Despite political, philosophical and religious differences, no topic is off limits and no punches are pulled, for we respect, care for, and appreciate one another.
They came to purchase one of our vehicles. But I know that they also came to say goodbye. There were no tears when we parted. There never are. We know we will see each other again. While we are abroad we will talk, FaceTime, and write. And this visit will not be quickly forgotten.
As we were taking our morning family walk, my mobile rang. They had arrived at our home. We’ll be right there, I replied. As we turned the corner a block away from our house and our guests, Blue began sniffing the air with abandon. With what can only be described as unbridled enthusiasm, he began pulling me down the sidewalk. His tail was wagging wildly. His head held high. As we cleared the trees and turned the corner, three boys raging in age from 10 to almost-14 years stood there ready to greet him. My friend stood smiling, as if we had seen each other yesterday, with her arms full of books for our daughter. As we made our way inside, I welcomed the familiar chaos of a house full of children and the incessant conversation of adults catching up on new jobs, the end of the school year, moving arrangements, food allergies, finances, vehicle purchases, family relations, and future plans.
After spending the day at La Jolla Shores, we returned home to eat pizza and ice cream cake in celebration of our husbands’ birthdays. The next day they joined us for an informal lunch and after a few hours left to return home.
That evening she text messaged me that they arrived home safely and thanked us for our hospitality. I thanked her for the books and their time and told her she would be missed. Indeed, I couldn’t think of a more pleasant way to spend a weekend than in the company of a longtime friend, to whom explanations are unnecessary and desires are already known.
“Don’t count us out for a visit. If we can make it happen, we will,” she responded. I smiled and thought to myself, “Of course, it goes without saying.”
Here’s to friendship.