I called her the other night. We hadn’t spoken since the spring. I didn’t realize I was calling her for any particular reason but to catch up. Once I heard the words out of her mouth, I knew I was going to be fine again. I have battled clinical depression for years and recently I had felt the beginnings of unexplained sadness.
My first memory of her was June 1st 1974. We were passing each other in the stairwell of a basement party on Marine Drive. She said hello and I ignored her. Apparently we had been in the same class all year but I had no idea who she was. She was new to the school and I was self involved. We had a mutual friend who now lives in Chicago.
Three weeks later Chicago and I drove down MacKenzie to suntan at Spanish Banks. We commiserated on our unemployed state. She told me that new girl just got a job with BC Ferries in Tsawassen directing traffic, making union wages. Her parents had bought her a car so she could get to her job. I assumed she was rich and spoiled. I was judgemental and self involved.
Over the next three years our mutual friendship with Chicago forced us to get better acquainted. The summer after second year University we got a basement suite in Dunbar together.
She was responsible and kind. I was difficult to live with. At the end of the summer she went back to UVIC and I moved to my own place in Marpole. We didn’t speak to each other for months.
I went to Victoria to patch things up that December. We sat down in the Keg and started to drink, and eat and drink…. six hours later we were signing our names on the bathroom wall as the janitor waited to turn the lights out and go home… Friends for life, but never again roomies.
It has been forty years. We have seen each other through weddings, funerals, children and lifes highs and lows. We don’t send birthday cards or visit on a regular basis. We do pick up where we left off when we hear each others voice. We caught up on the happenings of our families, her job, and our island life… Then I heard it.. the sound that I didn’t know I was waiting for…. Once I heard it.. I was good.. I could say goodbye until the next time..
I have spoken before of my nickname.. Only a few are allowed to use it.. For those who say it who don’t unconditionally care for me, it sounds ugly.. But when said with the teasing laughter that comes from the few who do, it warms my heart.. For it is always said within a laugh. When she said it, the nickname, it pulled me back up from my random sadness like a life line..
I didn’t know that is why I called her but as soon as I heard her say it… I was good.. I could say goodbye and know there was no reason for sadness. She would be there to pull me up, because I am a lucky woman and she is a
life long friend