“True Friendship” 04.15.22

I have few friends, because I am picky. I know when I encounter a good one, and never let her go. But not in a creepy way.

Diana and her husband, Lee have been my best friends for many years. We met through work. They are good at keeping secrets, as best friends are expected to do, but they are so much more to me than best friends. They visited me often while I was in the psychiatric hospital in Savannah, GA. They did not think I was crazy. They were very supportive. They kept my whereabouts a secret because I wanted to keep that part of my life hidden from the public. I didn’t want anyone to know where I was, as I was embarrassed about my illness at the time.

I am “Aunt Sam” to their two sweet, highly intelligent, beautiful girls, and I have always felt like part of their family. I love the two of them and their daughters with my whole heart.

This is a silly exercise, but Diana would call it magical, because she’s cool like that. I will imagine the day I met my best friends’ from their point of view. These are friends who have never turned me away and have loved me as I love them. I will try to predict the inner workings of those minds when we first encountered one another.

“Diana meets Sam”

“I am a music teacher, and was teaching my 3rd grade special needs class. The kids are always accompanied by a paraprofessional. Miss Buice (Sam) was the paraprofessional in that classroom. One day, Sam came up to me after class and-very much like a kindergarten student-asked if we could be friends. “You are so fun!” she said. “Will you be my friend?” I said, “Totally!” and we exchanged phone numbers. I was new at this school and didn’t really have any friends, so I was happily surprised. After that, we spent a lot of time together, never running out of things to talk about. She has been in our lives far longer than we have had children. We take turns venting and listening, much like free therapists. Every Thursday was “Pool Night,” and Sam accompanied me while my husband, Lee played pool with his team. We both feel comfortable sharing things between us that we could tell no one else. She loves our kids as if they were her own.”

“LOGAN meets Juniper/Emily meets Sam”

My dog, LOGAN, has an Aunt Emily, and a sister named Juniper. This is how we met, maybe accurately, from Emily’s account:

“I am a waitress in a restaurant low on staff. I have a hard time saying “No” when asked for help. I am always cheerful and everyone would describe me as a really sweet person. I am worked until I almost drop from fatigue. I am always following orders, taking orders, checking people in, and wearing a smile, as I dream about getting off work and returning to my couch, finally resting my legs. I have a new puppy, and cannot tell you how much I am about to explode with desperation and excitement to see her greet me when I get home. Her name is Juniper, but we call her Juni. She is so sweet and tiny. We rescued her out of a litter of puppies in a shelter near Helen, GA. We went out of our way a bit, out of county to pick her up. When we adopted her, there were two remaining puppies from a six puppy litter. There was only one boy. One day, a regular came into the restaurant for a take-out order, and a woman was with him, carrying a puppy which looked very similar to my own! We introduced ourselves, and I showed her a picture of Juniper. The likeness was undeniable. I asked her where she found him, and we had adopted both puppies from the same litter! She introduced me to LOGAN and we talked about setting up a playdate. That is how I met Juni’s “S-A-M,” and LOGAN met his “Aunt Emily.” Sam and I have been friends ever since, and the two siblings have a playdate every week”

Courtney meets her cousin, Samantha, not for the first time:

“She stole my toy. She has the advantage. She can crawl and sit up. She is very close to learning how to walk. I better prepare for that. I will hide all of my toys when she comes to visit. When I can sit up and crawl. I am a sitting duck in Superman stance. Will I get my doll back? Probably not. By the time the grown-ups realize what has happened, they will assume the doll is Samantha’s. Then she will take it home and I won’t ever see it again. I loved that doll. Samantha is growing quickly into a bully. I love her anyway.”

I have a few more friends, but mostly they are my sisters, and I talk about them all the time. I wonder how my friends’ accounts would differ from my own. Just for fun.

—SJB

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