Friday night I found myself in Redlands. Not a place I go to very often because it can take up to three hours to get there if you get stuck in traffic. But there I was in the middle of down town Redlands on an errand and since I was there, I thought I’d try to contact an old friend on her cell phone. I wasn’t sure if she still lived in town. I haven’t seen or talked to her in years. I wasn’t even sure if I had the right phone number. Which is all very sad considering this is the best friend I made when I was in second grade. SECOND GRADE!!!
I was so surprised when she picked up. It’s been so long I had to tell her who it was because she didn’t recognize my voice. I was even more surprised when she told me I was only a few blocks from her house! She told me to come over right away and I was just in time to catch opening night of her latest production, “Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Coat” at the Redlands Bowl and I MUST MUST MUST come! Well, how about that for suddenly filling up your night with fun filled activities without any preparation at all. My mom was with me, (like she always is) and of course she humored me (like she always does) and said she wouldn’t mind tagging along to see an outdoor show.
It had been so hot all day. My mom and I were very thankful to go inside my friend’s house, sip ice cold lemonade and catch up before we headed off to the Bowl. My friend has two children now. Her oldest I’ve met a few times. He’s almost 13. She also has a two-year old little girl from her second marriage, a real cutie. It’s crazy how much has happened since we graduated in 1990. Neither of us ever thought things would turn out the way they did.
All through high school she always teased me that I would get married and be “barefoot and pregnant” because I was the goodie-goodie church-girl with no plans for her future other than “whatever the Lord wills”. She was meant for bigger things like starring in broadway shows and making a name for herself in lights. She’s always been a theater nut and usually got a lead part in whatever play the drama department was putting on. But then we graduated and life threw us all a curve ball. She got married to a marine right out of high school, moved to England and had a kid less than a year later. I got kicked out of my church going life and started a career in advertising of all things. Our paths couldn’t have been farther apart.
When she got divorced a few years back, we wrote letters and tried to keep up but distance won out and we really didn’t keep in touch. When she got married the second time, I flew to Florida (home of her new husband’s family) to attend. That was the first trip I took my mom on, just me and my mom. So it was fitting that on this spontaneous Friday reunion, my mom was there again.
After the wedding, even though we promised that we’d keep up, life got in the way again. Three houses later and a second kid happened for her and here I am almost four months pregnant and I’m showing up at her doorstep to tell her the news. I was so glad to be able to tell her in person instead of just sending her a birth announcement and shocking her. Now she teaches drama at a private school and builds theatre props in her spare time in her front yard! I’m just starting the whole pregnancy thing.
But you know what? It was just like old times. That’s what I love about her. No matter what happens, no matter how much time passes, we’ll still be friends. She’s busy. I’m busy. And she doesn’t hold it against me! I haven’t had as much luck with my other friends from high school. The only thing I can think of that makes us different is that we are both happy with our lives. It’s easy to pick up with an old friend who’s happy. It’s hard to pick up with an old friend who’s not. I’m not saying I’m a fair weather friend. I’m as loyal as they come. It’s just that life and situations come between you and if you find yourselves on unequal ground, it just gets harder and harder to relate to each other. I wish so much that I could just pick up the phone to all my old friends and say, “Hey! What’s up!” and not have to feel guilt for all the years that have gone by without doing the things that friends do. I love it that I don’t ever feel like this friendship is a duty or a responsibility. I know I’m lucky to have such a friend and I’m going to do my best to do a better job in the future! Even if she does live in Redlands!
By the way, I filmed a little clip of her show. It was fantastic. Outdoor theatre is always a great thing to do on hot summer night. My friend designed and built all the props but you can’t really see them because we were sitting in the “crew” section, which meant off to the side and not as close. Plus the camera I used is my mom’s spy camera (hers is still working!) and filming with a little itty bitty camera doesn’t always make for the best picture quality. But if you’re a die hard “Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Coat” fan or maybe you’re Clownfish and you like Elvis renditions, you might enjoy it. Here it is . (6 meg Quicktime movie)