Friendship is not defined by the numbers of years you’ve known each other, or how compatible you might be, it isn’t defined by how often you talk or how many inside jokes you share. Friendship is defined by the bond that holds two or more hearts together.
There were five of us. If you looked at us, you wouldn’t think that a deep friendship was the glue that held us together. We were all different, but we all fit together perfectly. The babe bartender who can mix the perfect cocktail and make you fall in love with her. But her gypsy heart longs for a place to call home and arms to hold her. The young successful Fashion merchandiser who is as giddy as a school girl, and as dramatic as teenager, but has taken New York city by the balls. The shy book editor who has all the style, grace and mystery of a young Diane Keaton. And the artsy project manager who would rather be figuring out life on a road trip than sitting in her cubical, she has the heart of a tom boy and a smile that could break you in pieces. Then there’s me, the stay at home Mom who has been married for almost ten years, who doesn’t like to let her walls down and will never admit how insecure she is. But she’ll always make you laugh.
We’d hadn’t always been friends, some of us were closer than others and shared a longer history. Some of us had been roommates, and ended up becoming a lifeline for the other. But the real friendship started through emails. Alise started a group email to us while she was traveling to Boston for a prayer tour. She wrote to us in a time of uncertainty of life and doubt for the future. She was hoping Boston would help her find the answers. When she wrote her…words came alive, and you wanted to keep reading. When she told stories you felt as if you were right there. She brought us inside her world, and although it was unstable and unclear, we wanted to be right there with her. This email began a series of emails from each of us. One by one we wrote about our messy lives and broken hearts. We wrote like no one would ever read them. We told secrets that we dared no one would ever hear. We became vulnerable and our faults were exposed. These emails have taken us through every stage of our lives, the good the bad, and the really ugly. I have read about hearts that were broken too many times and dreams that were conquered and lost. I have traveled with each one as they have started new lives in New York, San Diago and Vermont. They were there with me when I would cry about not being a mother. And they were there and cried with me when I became a mother. It was through these emails that a bond was built, and a lifelong friendship was created.
It had been months since some of us had seen each other, and almost a year since we’d all been in the same room. With Alise in San Diago, Aimee and Jen in New York, and Emily in Berkeley, there were no plans of us being together in the near or far future.
When I heard someone knock on my front door at 11:30pm I didn’t expect it to be her. I stood there in shock and couldn’t believe my eyes. Aimee was standing in front of me. I kept asking why she was here and if I was dreaming. She had just landed from new York York and she came to spend the weekend here, she came to surprise me.
I was definitely surprised.
The surprises didn’t end there.
We spent the next day catching up and drinking endless cups of coffee. she said that we had dinner plans that night with Emily. With the evening approaching we began to get ready, when there was a knock on the door I expected Emily to be there, but she wasn’t, instead it was Jen. I looked at her with almost as much shock as when I saw Aimee, I hugged her, so happy to see her and asked why she was here. I figured she was here for work and that it was just a coincidence. But she said she was here to have dinner with us, and that she flew in from New York to do so. I started putting two and two together, and while I was doing so, someone else was at the door. I turned around and in walked Alise, i yelled “You’re here too?! I knew it I knew it!” We hugged like we hadn’t seen each other in years. Not even a minute after that, in walks Emily, and right behind her is Casey with glasses of champagne for each of us. They all gathered around me, they lifted their champagne glasses and said “We came here to celebrate you and your birthday, we won’t be here for your real birthday next month, so we flew down last night and are spending the whole weekend with you, Happy 30th birthday Hope”. I couldn’t believe it, I stood there speechless with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I was overwhelmed with love, and the feeling of being loved. They came all the way here for me and had been planning it for months. Everyone was in on the surprise, and I had no idea.
We went to a beautiful dinner at a beautiful restaurant. We ordered two bottles of Champagne and talked about all the things girls talk about on a girls night. After we couldn’t eat anymore we walked to a bar. The five blocks to the bar were walked in silence as we were each in our own moment of nostalgia. We were taking everything in, the way the light of the moon was bouncing off the tall buildings, the beeping horns of the taxis, the clacking of our heels on the dirty sidewalks, and the way the cool crisp air danced on our cheeks. It was the perfect SF night.
The next morning we drank coffee in our pajamas till 11am. Casey made everyone waffles and Alise made bloody mary’s. We ate in the backyard along with our friends Josh and Alexis and my good friend Rachel who drove 2 hours just to join us for brunch, because she was in on the surprise too. The times sitting around sharing a meal together and talking for hours are always my favorite. And this weekend was full of them.
I was in a state of awe and wonder those two days. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what was happening and what these girls did for me. I remember looking at each one of them during dinner, trying to memorize their smiles, they’re laugh, the taste of the chocolate cream pie and the sound of the music that was playing. I wanted to remember this moment forever. I wanted to remember this weekend forever. I wanted to remember this feeling of being loved in a way I had never felt before. I felt full and overflowing. I felt as though I would burst and that this love would shoot out of my fingers and toes. I was humbled.
We might not always be friends, and some of us don’t not always get a long. But there is something deeper here, there is a realness and an honesty, there is love. And there are these emails. These emails that may have become more personal than our own diaries. I know they will continue to carry us through each season of our lives, through every heartbreak and joy. These emails and these stories are what made us, and they are what will keep us together.
Happy early birthday to me.