Margie came into my life at a turning point. We were still children by society’s standards, but in today’s world we would have been looked at as something a little more. We weren’t small, innocent children, but we far from being experienced adults. We were thrown together during that awkward stage of life when very few things make sense. It was definitely a time of turmoil for both of us, but our friendship blossomed and somehow kept us both afloat. Although we both had “best friends” before, our friendship seemed to transcend the normal boundaries of friendship and crossed over into what I imagined sisterhood might be like.
Together, Margie and I looked like Mutt and Jeff. I was a tall, lanky-legged preteen and Margie, a couple years older than me was much more developed. She was short and petite with long, silky, dark brown hair that formed a “V” as it draped down her back. Mine had been cut short because my mother thought the Twiggy look was cute. What I thought at the time was that my mother truly hated me and was trying to sabotage my whole femininity by branding me with a fate worse than death. It only reinforced those feelings of being unwanted. After all, I was supposed to be a boy, wasn't I? And what I ended up looking like was a shapeless preteen boy. It was then I vowed to never have short hair again.
As we spent much of our time contemplating the complexities of the opposite sex and thinking up creative ways to stay in trouble, we rarely opened up and discussed the issues that really held true urgency in our lives. Sometimes, people just can’t find the words for the horrors they’re living. Sometimes just getting through another day was all anyone could do. Yes, some things were certain...the sun was always going to rise, the winters would be extremely cold and Margie was always going to be there for me and I for her.
Oh, but how things can change as life takes its unexpected ups and downs and twists and turns. Not only can friendships change, but so can the ways people protect one another. I was never really a bad kid...spirited maybe and always quick to be the first to do anything. I always was eager to push the boundaries and test the limits of everything. Consequences never seemed to be foremost in my mind. As I grew so did my impaired judgment and my thirst to explore new things. My mischievous pranks gradually morphed into acts with serious outcomes. My friend, my newly found sister didn’t deserve to become another one of my ugly battle scars. I was sure of this. She deserved better. She deserved friends who could be strong and weather the storm with her. I really didn’t know how to protect her from the inevitable...my spiral down the path of addiction.
All it seemed I had to give as my life darkened was pain and disappointment. How could I be a rock when I was quickly stepping towards having a complete emotional shutdown? How could I save her when I no longer had the strength to save myself? When cancer finally claimed her mother's life, I knew I couldn’t be the person to comfort her. As I look back now, I remember little surrounding that actual event. By then I was gone...completely gone. I had nothing left to give. Would it be cruel to back away? Wouldn’t it be more sister-like to fade away into the oblivion I had found? I could spare her the agony of watching yet another slow demise and so I did. I faded away and Margie, like so many others was left with only nagging questions regarding my disappearance. Margie not only lost her mother, but she lost her closest friend as well.
Now, many years later, a lifetime actually, we’ve been reunited. Although our lives took two completely different paths, the closeness we once shared immediately returned. What I discovered was that true friendship does withstand the test of time and distance and of pain and suffering. Just as hope springs eternal, so does true friendship and for that I am truly thankful.