When I think of Beth in high school, I can only recall smart-alec comments, laughing at schoolwork, giggling at boys and generally just an all-around, feel-good, warm-and-fuzzy feel that makes me smile.
When I heard that she was coming to London and able to make time to come to our local Tup to watch a rugby game in an English-filled pub, I was delighted -- yet still somewhat...apprehensive? curious? I'm not even sure of the word.
That is, the last time I saw Beth, we were probably 26-ish...and that's a total guess. Even after seeing her this past weekend, neither one of us was really able to discern the year...or even thereabout.
I mentioned Beth's impending arrival to my co-workers earlier last week. 'I have a friend coming from NY this weekend. I'm quite excited to see her, yet strangely nervous. I've not seen her in what? A decade and a half? What if it's awkward with creepy pauses or uncomfortable giggles? What if we've nothing to say past "I'm living in London. This is Steve and...um...yeah..."'
It had been years (!) since our last giggle 'round my parents kitchen table many moons ago. I think, at that time, I must've been either nowhere near married or recently divorced and she was just returning for a time from China for some family time.
None of my silly thoughts held true. Beth was still Beth -- and the Beth that I always knew.
It reminded me of a time when Anne, my first year college (er, 'uni', as they say in England) roommate once said years after we'd left UNCC, 'I know that we can pick up the phone and chat and it's as though not a moment has passed.'
Perhaps that's how we know our true friends..? The ones who always can retain the memories of days gone by (and the inevitable drunk/crazy/serious (pick one) laughs/cries/talks (pick one) yet still discuss what's going on in the here and now -- and actually care.
Move to the present -- please, Andi!
I spoke with my parents today. (I mainly bored them with wedding chat, but that's beside the point...) As I mentioned Beth's visit to them, they were genuinely pleased. 'You have very good friends, Andi', said my Dad. They're always quick to ask about what's going on with the peeps they've met through the years, Susie, Trish, Laura, Sophisticat, Stacey, etc...
I absolutely do have good friends. Wow. I'm completely lucky that I've had the chance to see a few of them (Casey, Beth(s), Lori, Heather) here in London. I'm ecstatic to think they'd take the time -- and money -- to see me. I'm so lucky (and yes, I do realise how sappy I'm sounding right now) to have friends that I will consider oh-so-important-to-my-death friends from NC and NY...and I'm so lucky that I've fallen into such a wonderful circle of friends here, in London, many through Steve.
So to any of you who do read this: Do know how often I think of you, whether you're in the post code just a mile or three away, or 3459.34 miles (my NY family and friends) or 4002 miles (my NC friends). Thoughts of you all come randomly and sometimes without reason. Maybe it's that I saw a difficult word to spell or maybe I saw a cool article on interior design or maybe I just had a fleeting thought about Pops in the Park or saw something on the rainforests.
[Disclaimer: I'm engaged to an accountant/left-brained kinda guy. I should probably note that the milage listed above is simply an estimation rather than a precise distance...sigh...Love you, baby...hehe]
Perhaps in getting married in a few months I'm pure sap/sop. Nonetheless, I do realise--as I again did this weekend--that we are oh-so-lucky to find friends...TRUE friends in this world, who get us, laugh with us, and are likely to always understand us.
(And PS - Thanks, Stace, for the smile about Liz and what would've been the coolest vino/Liz movie marathon ev-ah. Godfather, anyone?)