Bouncy Squirrels and Champagne

I’ve thought a lot about friendship today. In particular, I’ve thought about what it is that makes us connect with another person and how that connection might be temporary or withstand the test of time. I have known both kinds. The friend that I was so close to when I was a teenager, who is now somebody I cannot relate to. The friend that I was equally close to back then, who still is this person I love and admire and feel the same bond with. Then you have the friends that you lose touch with along the way, then reconnect with years later and find that you still adore them for the same reasons you did way back when.

E is such a person. We were in touch only yesterday and that’s what triggered this whole thought process in me. Always liked the girl. If she were an animal, she’d be a squirrel – happy, cute, alert, bouncy, petite and energetic. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed her down or grumpy or ill tempered. If I had to pick one word to describe her, I’d go with “smiley”. She’s just one of those rays of sunshine, always cheerful and full of life. You know how some people just seem to have positive energy about them? That’s her. Positive energy.

As much as I always liked her, back in our school days in the early 90s, E and I were in the same friends group rather than best friends per se. If we’re being pedantic, I’d say we were “good friends” but never “best friends”, if that makes sense. I had my besties, she had hers. So in a way, I suppose it was almost natural that we somehow lost touch over the years – no reason for it, we just had other things happening in our lives and friends who were closer to us.

Yet now, when we reconnect, 20 years and some traumas later, I find that very same girl I always liked is still very much there, and I kind of resent myself a little for not holding on to her more tightly along the way, but better late than never – hell, just looking at her cheers me up. Yep, much like that bouncy squirrel with its alert eyes. If anyone could ever be described as the salt of the earth, it’s this chick. Real, genuine, and what I liked the most all along: no fucking bullshit. She’s the kind of friend you need on your side when everything else is falling apart, as well as the friend you would need to cork open the Champagne with when your ship comes in. Alright, I think we have established that I think very highly of her.

What struck me, when I pondered the concept of friendship and what makes us like a person, was how it all comes down to this one thing for me: people who are themselves. The people whose core doesn’t change despite where life might take them. The people who won’t turn bitter because they were dealt a bad hand, the people who won’t turn shitty because the chips were up. In fact, with E that’s particularly true. She went through something you’d normally only see on some terrifying TV drama, yet after all of that, the girl I reconnect with again now still has that spirit she had back in 1995. Her smile comes just as easily, her eyes are just as bright and because there is no justice in the world, her tiny waist is still tiny even though she’s given birth to four kids (mine is but a memory and I’ve just had one little Monkey).

Anyway. It made me think about things, and beyond composing this little declaration of appreciation of E, I once again understand what’s important in life. Well, E said it herself: “it was all worth it”. Damn straight! I think I might print her words and frame them, in the hope that her outlook on life and her attitude will rub off on me any time I might feel a little rotten.

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