The Daily Post had a prompt the other day to write about your oldest friend. I’m pretty sure that the person I’m still friends with and have also known the longest is Joy.
I’ve known Joy since elementary school, and the day that sticks out for both of us as the beginning of our friendship is a snowy afternoon in, I think, first grade when Joy was over at my house. We’d been sledding in my backyard — my parents house has a hill in the back which is great for sledding, so long as you don’t plow through the fence like one of my brother’s friends once did — and were taking a break. You know how it is: you sled down the hill, then clamber back up the hill, and after a certain number of repetitions, you’re gonna get tired. So there we were, sitting on my porch in snow drifts, and then we started closely examining our snow pants and mittens. And just like they teach you in school, we discovered for ourselves that every snowflake really is different. (Lovely photos of snowflakes at that link, btw.)
Now, anyone who knows Joy knows how very well she embodies that name. She’s so naturally upbeat and positive, you might almost think it can’t be sincere, but it is. If you want an example of how like calls to like, that “the Secret” isn’t entirely bullsh*t and that putting out a positive vibe will bring positive vibes back your way, look no further than this woman. She works damn hard at what she loves, and thanks to that, she lives in Spain most of the year, and in the summers she gets to come back State-side and drink in the summer sun on the Cape. She treasures her friendships and the little joys in life (no pun intended), collects quotes about friendship and wisdom and life, and she’s always there for her friends and family when they need her, too. You know how sometimes you realize, in the middle of a moment, that this is a time, a place, a story, and people you’ll always remember? I think Joy goes about her life always aware that every moment will be one of those moments, so she makes the most of enjoying every one of them.
I think our friendship has lasted because of this — I know I tend to think that about a lot of moments, and towards the end of high school especially I felt that way. One night at the Cape the summer after we graduated, we were talking about going to college, our hopes and fears on the whole thing, and I was pretty scared of going off to school (even if that school was all of 20 minutes from my hometown, anyone who’s been to college can tell you it may as well be another world altogether). “Everything’s so good now,” I said, “why do we have to go anywhere? Why can’t we just quite while we’re ahead?” I don’t remember her exact answer, but I know it was something that both empathized with my fears and reflected her hopes and excitement about going to school (much further away than I was, at that). Maybe what Joy knew then that I wasn’t quite so sure of was that just because one stage of life was ending, it didn’t mean that it was over and those friends and memories would go away. Sure, she was right, and isn’t the only one of my friends from high school that I still know and see today.
So Joy, I’m so very glad that we are still friends, that we can look back on the times we cried and laugh, and at the times we laughed and cry, and that we discovered for ourselves that every snowflake is unique.