One of the joys of social networks such as Facebook and MySpace is the reuniting of old friends. I am on both, and I have found friends from years ago. With some, I exchange pleasantries, but the years have had their toll and the best part of those friendships would be the memories we share.
With others, it is different. I have found that with some of the old friends with whom I find myself chatting, the years melt away. Instead of feeling as if decades have passed, I find myself laughing the way I did in junior high school.
One of those friends, a dear friend that I have known since seventh grade, is learning how to use Facebook. She posted something on her wall this week that I didn’t notice until she sent me a message asking me to read it and respond. In that very public forum, she felt the need to apologize to me for what she perceived as being unkindness in the past. She chose to apologize in a public forum, and I am choosing to respond in a similar fashion.
Your words were so incredibly sweet, my friend. I had not seen your post, and had you not told me, I would not have gone looking for it. On Facebook, people tend to write on the walls of others and not on their own walls. Unless I happened to get nosy and start reading the entire contents of your wall (which I, like many Facebook voyeurs, sometimes do), I most likely would not have noticed.
Please know that you and I apparently remember things differently, for I don’t think an apology was necessary in the least.
So how do I remember things? Well, let’s see…
In seventh grade, I met a girl. I honestly don’t recall how I first met her, but I do know that a friend of mine named Billy liked her. They were even going together, though, like most junior high couples, they went nowhere together. One night, they had a fight and broke up. He wanted me to play the middle man and try to help him out by calling her, so I did. She and I talked for a while, and even though I was starting to like her myself, I convinced her to at least talk to Billy.
When she and I got off the phone, I called Billy and told him to call her. He did, and then he called me back to tell me about the conversation. He told me that they had gotten back together because he had fake cried on the phone. That made me so mad, so I called her and dimed him out.
She dumped him. After what I deemed an appropriate time (probably twenty minutes or so), I asked her to go with me.
For two weeks over Christmas break, we went together… and went nowhere. In fact, she was out of town the majority of that time, and the very first thing she did when she got back in town was dump me. Oh, well… I deserved it. I did act like a fink toward Billy, I suppose.
We did remain friends, and we had our own little routine for the rest of that seventh grade year. Pretty regularly, at break, I would grab her rear end. After all, we were in seventh grade. Girls were looking curvier than ever before, and the boys were quick to notice. Unfortunately, she was not that happy with my grabbing. In fact, she usually grabbed my forearm and dug her nails in. Without loosening her death grip, she would start heading down the hall, and I would follow along just to try to preserve some of the flesh on my arm. She would let go, and my arm would slowly begin the healing process. For a smarter person, the scars would serve as a reminder not to grab this particular young lady’s rear, but I was not smart. I was hormonally retarded… and I always returned. Like a moth drawn to a flame, I simply couldn’t help myself.
Luckily, she and I went to different schools for the next two years. If we had not, I am certain that my forearms would remain scarred to this day.
That was twenty-five years ago. Over those twenty-five years, the friendship that she and I have shared has been cyclical. There have been times of great closeness and togetherness followed by times of distance. In junior high and high school, the distance was because of different friends, activities, or romances. In more recent years, it has been miles, jobs, and families.
The cycles of togetherness have been wonderful. In junior high, it was long talks on the phone. (I still remember her parents’ number even though I haven’t dialed it in years!) In high school, she took me to a formal. She may not realize this, but she was the first woman I wore a tux for. She went with me and a group of friends to Shipwreck Island, and she and I spent the day enjoying ourselves all over that water park! I worked at a camp in North Carolina one summer, and I will never forget the look on her face when I made a surprise visit home. I also remember the hug she gave me when she ran up to me that night.
After college, she and I were workout partners. We were also the best of friends once again. Neither of us were dating anyone, so we could always count on the other one being there. We saw movies, we had dinners, and we just enjoyed ourselves.
The other night, she sent me a friend request on Facebook. I accepted, and the next thing I knew, she and I were chatting on there. I found myself smiling and laughing the same way I have countless times over the past twenty-five years. Over the past week, we have discussed her children (four) and mine (two), her husband, my wife, and the journey that has taken us from where we were to where we are. I have told her how I love the incredible woman that she has become and how I love the Jesus that I see in her, and she has told me that she is proud of me and all that I am accomplishing.
And now she is trying to apologize.
For what, Celia? For being my friend? Friendships are like marriages… they stick together through thick and thin, good times and bad, sickness and health. You owe me no apologies, my friend. You have brought smiles and laughter for twenty-five years.
You have been my friend, and for that, there is no need to apologize.