Just over a week ago I had a nice, long, catch up chat with my good friend Kim. It had been a substantial amount of time since we'd talked, but like I knew it would be, it was fine; exactly as if we'd never skipped a day without talking to each other. It's a comfort, a constant, and I never take that kind of connection for granted.
In the middle of our call Kim said, "I graduated from high school 25 years ago today." I responded with, "Wow, you're right. That means 25 years ago at this time I was traveling back to Victoria with my family." Kim then said, "That means that we've been friends for almost 25 years."
When I moved back to Victoria after living in Ottawa for 4 years everything had changed. My friends had grown up, some of my friends had grown apart, and many of my friends had grown away from me. I was adrift in sea of awkward circumstance that honestly, I had never considered would be a possibility. I had assumed that everyone would be so excited to see me! That people I'd known since I was 5 and professed to have missed me in the letters I'd received over the 4 years would be happy I was back.
This was not the case. They were pleased to see me at first, but then, they weren't. No one was mean, no one was cruel. We just didn't fit anymore and it was with a very heavy heart that I began the second chapter of my life in my home town. Everyone had made plans for their future, but I wasn't in them.
Everyone that is except for Wendy. We'd stayed close during my stint in the nation's capital and while I was a bit chocked when I found out she was going to go to Simon Fraser University in Burnaby instead of going to University of Victoria with me, our friendship remained intact. And before she headed across the Juan de Fuca straight she gave me a great gift: Kim.
Kim and Wendy had become close friends in high school. Before I moved back to Victoria I'd heard about her from Wendy. I was a bit, not going to lie, jealous of this Kim as she'd been the special friend who'd got to experience the ups and downs of high school with Wendy while I only got to hear about it letters and late night phone calls.
|There's lot of hair in this picture...|
However, when I finally met this Kim at the movies (Beauty and the Beast) in August, a couple weeks before University started, all my jealousy melted. I liked her immediately. She was fun, smart, and kind. Plus she laughed at my stupid jokes, which is always a good path to my heart. I hoped that we would be friends, but wasn't sure if we'd meet up and figured our paths would only cross when Wendy came home from university on holidays.
The first day of University was nerve wracking to say the least. I was scared and nervous about my future. When I hopped on the city bus to the big school, I thought was going to be sick. But then I saw a familiar face: Kim. She was sitting alone, looking a little anxious and invited me to sit with her. For the entire bus ride to UVic, I talked her ear off. I don’t remember what I talked about. I just remember being so happy that I wasn't experiencing my first day alone and I a strong feeling that we were going to become good friends.
And we did. By the time Wendy came home for Thanksgiving, we were inseparable and anyone would think Kim and I had known each other for years. Many Friday nights, I would be found watching taped videos off of Much Music at Kim's place. I don't know how many times we watched those World on Edge, or Bryan Adams, or Roxette videos, but they never got old. We bonded over them and movies like The Shawshank Redemption and Gleaming the Cube. (Kim worked at video store. It rocked!
|Oh my...how we swooned.|
After our first year at UVic, we both decided it wasn't for us and for the next while, we kind of lived parallel lives. We both took a year off, we both moved to Ontario a year later, we both went to college in Ontario where we both met Ottawa boys whose fathers worked for Bell Canada and knew each other. (The fathers knew each other, not our boys).
Both of us married our Ottawa boys and settled in B.C. At first Kim was in Victoria and I was in New Westminster, but not long after, she was there too and moved to apartment not very far away. We both got pregnant in 2001 and had daughters only 6 and half months apart.
However, it wasn't in the cards for our paths to continue running side by side-ish. In 2006, my family and I took the plunge and moved across the country to Miramichi where my husband had found a job in his field of animation. As Kim and I hugged goodbye and wiped away tears, I felt the 15 years of friendship and memories fill my heart to the breaking point. She had been with me through so many tough times, happy experiences, embarrassing scenarios that I'd care to not remember, and here she was again. Supporting me and helping me to embrace a future that was as uncertain and scary as it had been that day I'd seen her on the bus to UVic.
|Kim and I in Ottawa, July 2014|
The last 10 years have gone by in the blink of an eye. Our kids have grown, we've suffered losses, celebrated gains and while we haven't experienced these things together, they haven't created a distance between us. We have grown up, but not grown apart and I think in 25 years one of us will say to the other, "We've known each other for almost 50 years."
Kim, this one is for you.