She wore black combat boots and had hair that looked like she cropped it herself with kitchen shears. She asked questions. She had opinions. She was passionate about everything. She was the exotic German in a ho-hum Midwestern school.
THE foreign exchange student.
Though I was probably her polar opposite, we became the best of friends.
After I graduated, I sold my car so I could buy plane tickets to visit her in Germany.
We had our adventures. Drove to Italy. I got drunk for the first time in my life. And we even sang Beatles songs in a little German bar (what IS it with drinking, Germans and the Beatles?). I cried when I left Germany because I ‘knew’ I would never be back again.
*At this point, the universe laughs.
There’s just some kind of magnetism that draws people together. You can’t explain it, really. It has nothing to do with hair color, height or politics. Sometimes you just know a good friend when you find one.
So, it amazes me that twenty years have gone by without much more than second-hand information, and more recently, minor facebook stalking.
It pains me that after eight years of living in the same country, I had never made the three hour drive to see her.
But timing is everything. Even if I had seen her a year ago, I was a different person, and it might’ve ruined this new friendship. And finally, now, at this time in my life, I could finally see my friend.
It was a little awkward at first, being in her home, watching this new/old friend move about her kitchen, both of us with SO much to say, but not knowing how or where to begin.
Thankfully, she still has opinions, she still has questions, and she is still passionate, though the combat boots are gone.
After a couple of hours, we plunged right into the big issues of life: politics, religion, love, life. All the things you shouldn’t talk about in polite conversation.
It was therapeutic.
Sitting in her magical garden by the bonfire, drinking champagne, sharing hopes and dreams and failures.
We are in our forties now, but laughing and dreaming with girls’ hearts.
Older. Wiser. More beautiful. More passionate. With hands rough from building dreams.
As I go through this process of rediscovering myself, it’s good for me to have friends like this. People who encourage me to be myself and to have opinions. People who value my words and ideas. And especially creative people who feed my own creative passions.
Life is hopeful.
And pursing dreams can and should be done.
And connecting with others who are doing the same.