Thursday, January 25, 2007
When I was going from 7th to 8th grade I had to transfer schools. I had gone to the same school district since kindergarten and now in the middle of my junior high school years I was transferring to a new school. To make matters worse, it was the biggest rival of my former school.
I went in and registered for school fearful that I would be looked at as a pariah by my classmates. After I finished the registration process the lady told me that there was another student that had transferred in from my former school. She told me the other students name, which I didn’t recognize, and suggested that we get in contact with each other.
We found each other within the first few days of school and felt an instant bond with each other as we both felt like outsiders. Lisa was beautiful with bright red hair and big blue eyes. She and I became the best of friends and it turned out to be a friendship that would last for years.
My fears of being a pariah were unfounded and Lisa and I found a niche of great friends that we ate lunch with every day and we changed our schedules around so that we could take a few classes together.
We only lived 4 or 5 blocks from each other so we would meet at the same bus stop and ride to and from school together. We were just barely teenagers and we would pour over fashion magazines and talk about who we had a crush on that week in school.
It was the most defining friendship that I had in all of the years that I was in school. Lisa was the girl that I could tell my secrets to and we talked about everything. Lisa knew more about fashion and makeup than I did so I learned a lot from her in that aspect.
Although neither of our families were rich, her grandmother was very fashionable and since Lisa wore the same size she had really awesome clothes and was always in style. I did the best with what I had but in no way would I have been considered as trendy.
I was only in that school district for that one year. My mom married during that summer and we moved away. I kept in touch with Lisa but it was difficult since we were long distance and in the 80’s there was no email and no one had cell phones.
We would write to each other and call sometimes. I was able to come down every few months or so and visit and even came down one summer and stayed with my grandmother (who was in the same town) which made for the best summer I have ever had in my life.
When I was a senior in High School Lisa was having trouble at home. I can’t really remember what it was but there was an issue with her family about who she was dating. He was in the military and African American. I don’t know what they had a problem with but Lisa was young and in love and I lived only 20 minutes away from where her boyfriend lived so she came and stayed with my family, transferring schools and we became roommates.
It was great at first but she would be gone a lot spending time with her boyfriend. We had changed a bit since our Junior High days and it seemed like we didn’t have quite so much in common.
After we graduated she moved in with her boyfriend and we saw each other sometimes but she was busy with her boyfriend and his kids, working and living life. I was busy working and had another friend that I spent more time with because we were both young, single and had no kids. I never really thought about it but I wonder if Lisa felt that I had abandoned her. For a long time I felt that she had kind of abandoned me so I tried to move on but I missed her a lot.
She ended up moving away with her boyfriend to Louisiana (I think) and his kids. We would talk on the phone every once in a while but it wasn’t like before when we would talk for hours about whatever came to mind. It became a bit strained and after a while it would be maybe a phone call once or twice per year. Then it stopped all together.
About a year and a half ago I starting thinking about Lisa and how much I missed our friendship. I called the last phone number that I had for her (which was about 3 years old) and someone answered the phone and said that she didn’t know who Lisa was.
I went online looking for her. Although she had moved out of state I thought that there might be a chance that she had moved back to Washington. I found someone with her name in Washougal, WA. I decided to call and figured that if it was the wrong person that at least I had made an effort.
A woman answered the phone and I was really nervous so my explanation spilled out of my mouth in a jumble. The woman responded with “Hi Rach. It’s me.” I felt joy well up that I had found her and relief that I didn’t make too much of a fool of myself.
We talked for a while and caught up on what had happened with each others lives. She was working full time and going to school full time and I had just happened to catch her on a rare night at home.
She was in college to do something in the medical field (I can’t remember what it was) and was engaged to a man who lived about 20 minutes away from where we grew up. He had 2 kids and she talked about them too. I talked to her about D and what life was like in Michigan.
I felt confident that we were going to revive our friendship and that now that we had re-connected that we would keep in touch. Lisa sent me a card with a photo of her and her fiancée and his kids along with a note stating that the best way to get ahold of her was by email since she was gone so much.
I emailed her a few times but got no response. Then I called her a few times and she never called back. I figured that she was busy and that she would call me or email me when she had time. I haven’t heard from her since and our friendship has faded away once again.
I miss Lisa. I miss talking to her. I miss having someone to call that has known me for over 20 years. I remember her birthday every year since she is only 11 days younger than I am and wish her a happy birthday to the clouds hoping that she can feel it.
I think about her sister and brother and wonder how they are doing. Is her sister still in the Air Force? What happened to her brother? How are her parents and grandparents? I feel like I lost part of my extended family. I cared about them because they were Lisa’s family. I hope that they are all doing OK.
When I think of my friendship with Lisa I picture a watercolor painting. It starts out vibrant and colorful but over time the colors fade to a warm memory of what they used to be. The picture isn’t any less beautiful but over time has faded and has less of an impact.
My friend Anne’s life had changed significantly in the past year and a half. She has gotten married, had a child, works full time and attends college. Her plate is over flowing and she just doesn’t have time to hang out like she used to. We both try to make sure that we stay connected so that our friendship doesn’t turn into a faded watercolor painting too.
I cherish my friendships and I hate to see any of them fall to the wayside due to neglect, life changes or tragedy. I do my best to try and keep in touch with the people that I care about but sometimes life gets in the way and you realize that you haven’t taken the time lately to see how your extended friends are.
I went online last night trying to find Lisa. She has married and I was able to find her new last name by doing a people search combined with the name of her high school. I found a phone number for her under her husband’s name and tried to call it. It was disconnected. It did give me an address as well so I have decided that I am going to send her a letter and try to renew our friendship one more time.