Hold on to the connection
Two weekends ago, my friend Dawn, her husband Matt, and baby Jed all came to visit! After a couple of weeks spent with family in Connecticut, Dawn was on an East Coast tour of residency interviews, and our house was a convenient rest stop en route to North Carolina. After they showed us a good time when we visited them in Portland for a day, JG and I were inordinately excited to show them around good old Kennett Square.
That weekend, we hit up Longwood Gardens, the Half Moon (we got crab nachos, obviously), and the used book store. Unfortunately, The Awesome Ice Cream Place was closed for the season, but hey, 3 out of 4 isn’t bad. I was pleased that all of the local characters were out in full force: we saw Kevin and MaryEllen at Talula’s Table, Charlie at the pottery, crazy Doug at the Eco Boutique, and of course, Enthusiastic Harry, the manager of the used book store. Well done, Kennett!
On Saturday night, Dawn and I stayed up to work on a web publication she’s developing and think through the interview questions for the week. And I know that it sounds strange, but that was the best part of the weekend for me. I loved being able to help her process her thoughts and get them in the best shape she could. We were both operating in our respective sweet spots, and it was fun, even though it was work. Dawn asked, “How is it that I have been more productive in one night here than in the last 2 weeks?” I laughed and suggested that it had something to do with visiting Jed’s grandparents on all sides, but we both concluded that she needed to come to our house to work more often.
Before we turned in for the night, Dawn said abruptly, “I remember when you visited my mom’s classroom and we met for the first time.”
“I do, too.” I really do. I was visiting my new elementary school, where her mom was my math teacher. Dawn was in the classroom, drinking a root beer.
“And now we’re turning 30,” she said.
“I know, it’s so weird.”
“Matt is always surprised that you and I hardly talk,” she said next. “But don’t you think that when we do, we just pick up where we left?”
“That’s exactly what I tell JG! And it makes me wonder why we ever fought in high school. That was a strange time.”
Dawn nodded. “Yeah. That was stupid.”
They left early the next morning for North Carolina. Looking back, I realized that Dawn and I were up to a grand total of 6 whole occasions of spending time together since we graduated from high school: 1 random college-break brunch, 3 weddings (hers, mine, and our friend Amy’s), a day trip to visit her in Portland while we were in Seattle, and then, that weekend of hanging out. I love that we both went our separate ways, figuring things out, meeting new people, moving to new places, and by dint of sporadic e-mails and birthday phone calls, we managed to hold on to the connection. What compelled us not to speak to each other for months in high school had completely dissipated, and the real friendship we have remained. And I love seeing Dawn living this life as a mom and almost-doctor. It’s somewhat bizarre, but it feels right. It’s still her, but more so. I hope she sees the same in me.
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Although I hauled my camera around everywhere we went that weekend, I didn’t take any pictures. All of the ones here are old. I probably should have taken out my camera, even just to ask JG to take a picture of Dawn and me. But I just … didn’t. I didn’t feel like taking the camera out, figuring out the light, installing the flash bounce, or whatever, blah blah blah. Even though I want to take more and better pictures this year, I didn’t feel the need to document it tangibly. But that doesn’t mean I won’t remember it.