This blog entry is dedicated to six women who make me feel sixteen years old, like we are hiding and smoking cigarettes, driving through the Sonic in our hometown in old cars, double-dating, and doing anything except handling real life.
We get together for weekends as often as we can and tell our life secrets from back then and now. We open our lives and share the ups and downs of what was wrong then and what’s good and bad about now. In the summer months, we live in our swimsuits and don’t worry about bags, sags, or wrinkles. (Most of the 7 don’t have those things…primarily me. They are beautiful women! Okay…WE are all beautiful women!)
We dress up and go out to dinner; we play “Remember when…” for hours at a time, and all of us really do remember when, because we were there.
We do not see the years etched on the faces of our six friends, we see the smooth faces of girls.
In the winter months, with our heads all that is showing atop blanket ponchos wrapped around us tightly, we gather in an animated ring of female conversation around a blazing fire pit. We are girls at a pajama party, and the party is so much better than they were back then. We build fires to warm us on cold nights while we gossip, tell our own stories, and make short runs into the house to grab another glass of wine or to reach into the cooler by the back door for a beer.
When we are together, we giggle and laugh loud, the only care being that we should not wake any nearby neighbors trying to sleep. We can’t see gray roots or strands of hair, the worry lines, or wrinkles on the faces that look back at us. They all tell a common story–that decades have passed since a mild night in May when we graduated from high school. We can’t see that age has changed any of our friends…we are the same as we were that night as we ate graduation cake with our parents and grandparents impatiently, then ran to our bedrooms and pulled off our best dresses, stockings, and church shoes, and put on pasture party clothes.
We are the same girls which perhaps that night retrieved a stash of cigarettes from a hiding place and loaded into cars with boys (none of whom remain in the picture) to join our classmates to celebrate passing through the halls of AHS for the last time. When we are together, the dancing light from the firepit illuminates faces that belong to the girls we were then.
In real life, we have all fared pretty well. Most of us (well, all except me) charted out a great life and stuck to the plan–I did okay, too, but typical for me, I took the hardest, roughest road I could find to get there!
Now, we are 50 plus, but when we are together, we are 15+. We love our time together–we protect it fiercely. Only the worst of events can hold us out of a meeting of the 7. Even sight loss didn’t keep me away from a planned weekend with the girls in February, 2014.
When my retina detached about that time, I saw a doctor who told me that he needed to do surgery on the following Tuesday. After agreeing upon a time for surgery, I asked him if I could go be with my girlfriends…could I drink wine? Could I laugh hard and sit in a hot tub on a cold night? He laughed and gave his blessing, and one of the girls came after me and took me to our girls’ gathering. They will always come and get me if I am in between good times with my sight. It’s not the same if we aren’t all together.
We support each other, pray for one another, and sometimes when we feel like it, we put on dance music…maybe a little Usher…and we dance in our swimsuits like nobody’s looking!