For three hours and some change, I squinted at directions printed out from mapquest, I pleaded with kids to ‘hold it’ a little longer–like 38 more miles to the next blue rest stop sign, I doled out pb and js and paper towels with my right arm, I gave advice on a weanus that kept raising and lowering–like maybe don’t touch it, and I strained to hear the books my daughter read aloud from the third row.
It was just the three of us. On our way to see my friend.
My friend and her five kids. In Oregon.
My friend who became my friend in the seventh grade–when we were thirteen–the one I hugged two days ago in her driveway after I unstuck myself from the front seat.
It’d been too long.
Only as life rattled around us and seven kids clawed for our attention, we both watched as one of her girls and mine kindled a friendship of their own.
They drew and danced and bounced and skipped. They confided, confessed, created and clapped.
They giggled. Like little girls.
And they held each other…like friends.
We also witnessed these two. Hers and mine. Two months a part. These two who beaned each other with bullets. Who chucked dirt in the air and who liked the results so much they did again. And again. Who jumped and tagged and tattled and laughed. Who chased each other with swords and water guns and tall weeds.
Who gruffed their goodbyes with their heads to the side.
And who wishes now the other lived next door.
As do I.