In high school, I didn’t have many girl friends. Hope, Nancy and Jaime were just about the only girls I trusted to never ever be mean girls, and mostly I surrounded myself with boys who treated me like a sister.
But then there was Jimmy. Jimmy whom I cannot find a high school photo of on this computer currently, but alas. Jimmy and I talked on the phone late into the night, each others’ sounding boards. We both loved the great girl singer-songwriters of the early 2000s like Jewel and Fiona Apple and we always sat together in choir, whispering and cutting up, the teacher’s pets because we too loved every Tori Amos song. For those 4 years, I could confide in him, and he in me. We were both talked about sometimes, passive aggressively bullied. Neither of us really “fit in” at our rural high school, I think. But we didn’t care. We had our sights set on life beyond high school. And then we graduated, and we just lost touch, as friends sometimes do. When facebook appeared one day in college, we found each other again and I learned that he was working on a biology degree in Boston. We’ve kept up our online friendship with funny comments on pictures or statuses now and then. And sometimes I think of him and miss having that outrageously cheeky friend. There’s been a little void in my friendships since we grew up and grew apart.
Today, I was sitting at my desk working. Ben at his—making shipping labels for the day’s orders. We heard someone quietly knock and come in the door down the hall. This doesn’t happen often since we’re an online shop, but every now and then someone lost and searching for the Red Cross building wanders through our door. Ben called out, “Hello?” A man answered, hesitantly “Hello?”
Ben went into the hall to see who was there, and the man told him, “Hey, nice to meet you. I’m Jimmy.” I heard the spark of recognition in Ben’s voice, “Yeah! You’re Jimmy!” though I had no idea who was there. I turned around in my chair, and I found my old friend peeking around the doorway into my studio. My heart burst! I ran to him and gave him the biggest hug. He is in town for the weekend to be with his ailing mama. He had a gift for me. A watercolor portrait he did… Of me. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I might cry. He’s a very talented painter. In high school, I don’t know that he had even begun to nurture that particular talent.
There are so many things to talk about and so many things I want to tell Ben. Tomorrow we’re having lunch and I hope we can at least put a dent in catching up, properly. Isn’t it wonderful to be surprised by an old friend?