Old Friends and a New Year

I used to pull into her driveway every morning our senior year.  Come to think of it now, I have no idea how she got home at the end of the day, as I always had something going on after school… sports, band, all that stuff.  Sorry, Jody, if I left you stranded after school. 

I met Jody in 5th grade.  I distinctly remember her walking between the rows of desks in Mr. O’Leary’s Language Arts class.  At some point I learned her name.  In sixth grade we became friends.  Senior year I drove her into school and we talked about our boyfriends.  She had one that her parents didn’t like.  Honestly, I wasn’t nuts about him either.  I had one who was older than me, he wasn’t a favorite among my friends either.  We had that in common—being crazy about these boys who we both learned later on weren’t worth it.

We went off to college.  She went off to Maine with some guy she met at school.  She married the guy, they had a son.  I was living in Boston, apartment to apartment, job to job.  She was in Maine, then back home to Connecticut.  We found each other on Facebook.  We emailed now and then.  Saw each other at reunions.  But it wasn’t the same as those car rides into school in the mornings.

On Thursday I was getting ready for our New Year’s Eve party.  Cleaning, getting firewood onto the deck for the fire pits, ordering mountains of chicken wings and pizza, figuring out the booze situation… all those normal pre-party things.  And Todd would you please wire the remotes to the fireworks BEFORE it gets dark this year?  (They totally did it by the light of flashlights again this year.)  My phone was on the kitchen counter when I heard the familiar whip-DING sound of Facebook Messenger.

Jody: Is there room at the inn tonight?  Call me at this number….

A squealing conversation happened.  Then she came walking up my deck with her husband and 19 year old son after driving the hour and a half to get to my house.  It was one of those hugs where we end up swaying back and forth and laughing. 

I think it’s been 10 years since we saw each other.  She still has the perfect skin, the bright smile and the quick wit.  It doesn’t feel at all like 10 years have passed since I saw her last.  I vow to not let another decade pass before seeing her again.

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.

added on 01.04.16

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