Yesterday I received an urgent call from the firm I work for needing a transcript now. To my horror, I'd barely started editing the job, and I had to have it finished by 3:00. Thanks to The Oracle, who happened to take the day off, I was able to get my job finished right before he left to work a sporting event in the evening (his seasonal job).
I was thoroughly frazzled and (naturally!) had nothing in the fridge. My in-laws were at the house to meet with the architect designing their in-law suite (if they ever sell their house). After the architect and The Oracle left, they took pity upon my starving, whining children and treated us to dinner at a nearby diner.
While there, a lovely woman approaches me, puts her hand lightly on my shoulder and says hello. I am ashamed to admit that I drew a total blank on who she was until she gave me one of her fabulous smiles. Oh, my heavens! The lovely woman is my friend, T. I hadn't seen her in quite a while, at least a year or more. Well, okay, part of why I hadn't recognized her is because she lost 93 pounds. She looks utterly fabulous, and I am very, very proud for her.
I met T in 1995 when I started working for a neighboring township. She also worked there, and we "clicked" from my first hours on the job. During the remainder of her employment with the township, she helped me tremendously through some rough emotional times, and I like to think I was able to return the favor.
What's so awful is that we lost touch shortly after she moved to a house one mile away from mine. Her telephone number is burned into my mental Rolodex despite the fact that I only used it a dozen or so times since she moved in, and yet we rarely see each other unless it's by accident. You'd think that getting together for a Rita's Water Ice (mango, please) should've been easy being so close, but it never happened. Why, exactly? We still exchange the occasional email, we talk about getting together, but no meeting ever materializes.
I feel terrible over this. In the last ten years, I only need one pathetic hand to count the number of times we saw one another. Our lives have undergone a good number of changes since then, so that's probably how this came to be. Still, T has clearly undertaken a number of things to improve her life and health, and I was nowhere in sight to lend a hand or an encouraging word. Simply put, I suck as a friend.
Back in middle school, I remember a teacher expounding on the notion that we have many acquaintances in our lives, but we should consider ourselves lucky if we can claim to have one or two true friends in this life. On a rough count, I can claim four without hesitation. How did I get so lucky? I clearly can't claim much effort toward cultivating and caring for my friendship flowerbed. On occasion, I'll send an email or pick up the phone, and sometimes we're successful in getting together for a bit. I know that these people would drop everything and be here for me in a heartbeat if I needed them. I'd be there for them too, without question.
When I think about my thoroughly-neglected friendships, like mine with T, I am amazed that there's still something really good growing there. I guess all the bull[censored] that precipitated so many discussions in her living room made for some mighty rich soil.
Hey T, are you in the mood for a little gardening?