Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Gathering

Some of us had worked together for almost two decades. During that time, we’d spent a third of almost all our days together – from 8 to 4 – laughing, teasing, complaining, supporting, achieving, listening, sharing, eating, collaborating, raging, advising…sometimes even crying together.

We matured, gained and lost weight, swapped recipes, sprouted grey hairs. We married husbands, raised children and buried parents.

Now, a decade later, we gathered again to see if there was still a spark of our old relationships smouldering in the passage of time. Would it be the same? Or had we all changed and grown too far apart in our separate lives?

We hugged and laughed and caught up with each other for a full eight hours…just like the old work days.

It was like hearing an old familiar song...and discovering you still know the words.

We dusted off our memories and resurrected the achievements, surprises, stories, habits…we howled with laughter because one still didn’t finish her sentences and another was still delightfully scandalous and irreverent. We learned that the children who we'd watched grow up were now married with children of their own.

I found comfort in how little we’d changed through the years we’d been apart. Familiar facial expressions, gestures, patterns of speech…we recalled old nicknames, pranks and the laughter of the past.

We celebrated the relationships that had taken years to build, and I realized I’d probably spent more hours with these girls than I’d spent with my dearest friends. I know the colour of each woman’s eyes. I know that one hates pasta and peaches, another hates to hug. One tells all, another tells nothing.

It's taken me years to appreciate this.

Oh, the pleasure that comes from knowing, accepting and understanding a person…how she will respond or what will make her laugh, or how her eyes will tear when she does. We all agreed that we’d shared a very special time – one that will never come again because the world has since changed. That special synergy we created at that time of our lives cannot be duplicated.

And, we are all richer and wiser for the knowing.


jfrancis said...

The time of living
within the memories
of special times
has withered___
but the memory lies dormant
in the buds
needing only
the knowing
to flower once again.

Diane said...

I know just what you mean. I just returned from an extended weekend trip to the city where I had time to reconnect with friends from 30 years ago. It was as if we'd never had that gap of time between us. The familiarity you speak of in mannerisms, laughter, and all the splendid times in those days. The warmth and glow of lives changes yet familiar.

hele said...

This actually makes me feel like getting a job, just to enjoy spending time with another group of women.