As I travel through life, I often match song lyrics to whatever I’m going through at the moment. If I’m drinking out of a red Solo cup, Toby Keith sings in my head. If I’m sitting on my front porch enjoying the warm air and appreciating my life, Lonestar sings to me but I change the words to, “My front porch looking out,” even though most of my thoughts are about "lookin' in." Today, when I dropped my friend off at the airport JT Hodges sang to me. Every time I hear the song, I sing, “Goodbyes made you cry,” even though I know the song is, “Goodbyes made you mine.” Saying goodbye almost always leaves me feeling sad for a while.
Our visit was wonderful, a little slice of heaven actually. I picked her up from the airport Wednesday afternoon and we went right to dinner, then to see Rock of Ages. That movie was a perfect start to our weekend. How could we go wrong with a movie about OUR era? We knew every word from every song. We should have been rock stars. In fact, we were so excited about the movie that we stopped at Walmart afterwards to buy the soundtrack.
The rest of our weekend was filled with lots of shopping, eating out, hanging out with friends-some that she had met on previous visits and others she hadn’t. We are never very motivated when we are together, so we did spend a lot of time TALKING about what we should do and talking about getting our asses in gear to go do whatever it was we had decided on.
Throughout the weekend I kept thinking about how leisurely the time was passing and I enjoyed her company. I was pleased that the visit wasn’t going by too quickly after all. Suddenly, it was Sunday afternoon and she was packing up a box to be shipped home (I said we did a lot of shopping!) and the visit was nearly over. How could that be? It seemed she had only landed a few hours ago. I wasn’t done spending time with her. We don’t get nearly enough time together. Over the last four years or so, we’ve been able to visit almost annually, but it’s just not enough.
I don’t know what it is about Shannon that I love so much. Perhaps it is that we had such a bond through part of elementary school and all of middle school. Once we hit middle school, we were never in the same classes. We had different circles of friends, yet we remained in each other’s lives. I moved during the summer between 9th and 10th grade. We saw each other once during high school and got together after we both graduated to celebrate that achievement.
It’s so interesting to me that we have remained such close friends. When I moved, I will admit to being angry and bitter at my parents. I hung out with a wilder crowd than I had before but never got into too much trouble. I became the quintessential “80’s rocker chick,” while Shannon continued down the “nice girl” path. We both went to college, but neither of us finished the degrees we started on. We each married our first husbands around the same time and our divorces happened at the same time too. We’ve married our second husbands and had our youngest daughters within months of each other. However, I still work full-time and while she cannot due to her surgery, it was always her dream to stay at home and be a full-time mom. I’d never be able to handle that life.
Since she was leaving so early in the morning, she said good night to my girls as I put them to bed. Both girls seemed to have gotten attached so quickly, but I was surprised by how well Sugar held it together and how much Spice fell apart. She begged to come to the airport in the morning, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to handle listening to her cry all the way home.
As always, on our last night, right before bed, we talk about our favorite things… the restaurants we had eaten at, the places we shopped, the people we saw. We reminisce about our visit and Shannon said, “As great as it is to have company, I’m sure you are ready to have your house back.” Normally I agree, but for some reason this visit just didn’t feel long enough to me. I don’t feel like I was done playing with my friend. Our playdate was over far too soon.
I drove home from the airport at 6 am today and I thought about how goodbyes make me want to cry. My heart is sad and I’m afraid to breathe in all the way… for fear that my breath will catch and the tears will fall. I continue to try to figure out my relationship with my friend and I think more about song lyrics that I love so much. While this song is really a love song, part of it perfectly reflects who we are to each other:
I’ve been your late night call, your shoulder to cry on
Out on the highway listenin’ to sad songs
Talkin’ all night ‘bout stupid things, makin’ you smile
I’ve been right here all of these years…
Now I realize that we don’t have to have loads of stuff in common to be great friends. Instead, we are the friends that turn to each other in times of need or times of joy. Outside of my marriage, she is the person whose opinion I care the most about. She is the straight and narrow to my badass. Our relationship is based on wonderful childhood memories and a mutual respect that develops after being in each other’s lives for thirty years.
And oh, how that goodbye made me cry.