I knew that this was the right time to see them again. Melody and I had planned it all out with Katie and Ellen. We sat in the car–a very short drive, not but five minutes and we were there. We used to make the drive–or walk–a lot, years before. That was before we fell apart; before we started to find ourselves. It’s hard to hold onto friends when you seem to be all going in different directions–when you’re everywhere but by each other’s sides. But those old sayings that seem to portray time as a cure-all for anything must be right, because here we are, in Ellen’s driveway. I felt my stomach flip a little. I almost couldn’t believe we were doing this. So much time had passed, and Melody and I had discussed this so much in the past, that it was hard to think that we could possibly be leaving ourselves wide-open again to what we originally walked away from; but the minute we stepped through the door, we hugged and couldn’t seem to let go.
No time had passed, we were frozen, we were ourselves. Perhaps that happens when you’ve known people for so long–so much history, good or bad. We swapped stories, reminisced about the years we have missed full of stories and trials and triumphs in love and loss. “I’m so glad we did this,” Katie said over and over again. I was happy, too.
Throughout the night there was music and dancing–mostly bad grooving and a session of the Cupid Shuffle. Katie, Ellen and I drank a bit of booze, while Melody, still feeling off with a cold, watched as Ellen fell further into a stupor (which made the Cupid Shuffle more entertaining). The night was chilly, but hardly too cold to bear. We stepped outside and realized just how nice it felt, how much the color of our cheeks needed a reprieve. By the pool was time for “girl talk.” There were stars everywhere in the sky above us; I missed that most about Ellen’s house. Her neighborhood was never polluted by lights, you could see everything. I took a deep breath and felt the air wash over me. The cold cement relaxed me. Katie told us a few “secrets,” and we laughed together.
“We were only together for less than 24-hours and we were already swapping secrets,” Melody joked the next day in the car.
“Yeah, that was great,” I responded. “And none of our secrets were really secrets, either.”
We knew each other too well.
Well into the night we sat on Ellen’s bed talking and listening to music that Melody and I both knew they hadn’t heard. “We need to swap music, guys,” they said. A plan for another time before I leave. A chance to reconnect again and call them my best friends. Another chance to hug them and say “I love you” and mean it.
In the morning, we ate cold slices of our leftover pizza and talked some more. I woke up to rustling and saw them all slowly rising, too. We talked about religion, church, politics, girls we knew in high school who are pregnant, have boob jobs, are married, or all three. With Katie, Ellen, and always, Melody, I felt at home. And the word meant more to me than it ever had. Not because soon I’ll be miles away, but because I was reminded how wonderful it is to have something to call “home.”