I was not yet six when my mother packed me up and drove me into town. The sky was grey. There was a chill in the air. It was September but I don’t remember any leaves on the trees, in fact, there could have been some random snowflakes floating aimlessly in the air. Pathetic fallacy at it’s best. A childish imagined sympathy from nature on my first day of school.
She parked the car and came out and around to my side of the door opened it and took my hand and walked me to my classroom.
I knew no one.
All my friends were in the other class.
Just when I thought I’d be friendless and alone my entire first year of school, a pretty girl with long dark hair befriended me. She had the darkest, brown eyes and she always wore colors I could only imagine myself in.
And slippery boots.
She had slippery winter boots that she’d let me wear during recess. They were brown and zipped up and they were far more glamorous than my black buckled Ski -doo boots.
I would go over to her house for lunch and we’d have macaroni and tomato sauce. She’d ride the county bus to my house sometimes without asking her parents for permission. When her parents would come to pick her up I’d hide in my parent’s closet behind the clothes because I was scared I’d get into trouble for not asking permission. Most often they’d come after supper so we could have time to play.
She became my first best friend. I loved spending time with her. It felt as though I was doing something important. It felt fun.
She moved far away the next year. And we’d write to each other. Then she moved farther away, but we still wrote. Over the years we continued to write. I’ve kept every letter…the ones written on pale blue stationary, the ones written on onion skin air mail paper…
She became a fashion designer and I became an English teacher. We’ve shared milestones in our lives.
I’ve asked others if they still stay in contact with someone they met when they were 5 the answer is seldom “yes”. The people in our lives that knew us when we were children are usually limited to family or friends of our parents. “Aunties” and “Uncles” who lived down the road or across the street. It truly is a gift to still be in touch with someone who knew you when capris were called pedal pushers and when flip-flops were called thongs.
She was one of my favorite people and a very important person in my childhood and I’m so happy she is still my friend.
And today is her birthday!