The skinny girl with the thick glasses spoke to me when there was no one else on the mini school bus.
I was twelve years old and didn’t realize how much that initial conversation would change my life.
When you are a kid, life defining moments don’t present themselves as such, they just exist to be the anchor of memory you will access years later.
Today I pulled on the rope that holds that anchor and reminded myself that In the club of misfits, I can’t remember who was President or Vice-President, we were both officers of this exclusive organization and it made us friends.
She holds pieces of my history never shared with anyone else. She knew me as a kid, as a teenager, as an adult and now as a budding viejo.
I have memories of earth shaking problems that today seem trivial and irrelevant, fixed and discussed on Sunday nights as we went to movies and pooled our money for gas.
I remember our transition from awkward kids to complicated adults to somewhat-comfortable-in-your-skin beings.
I remember babies and births shared and friendships borne from our union.
I remember our Grandmothers, large influences in both of our lives, when we were young enough to still have them in our lives.
I remember Algebra and Drama and Theater Conferences and names like Natasha and Eddy which mean little to anyone outside of our circle.
We became friends by circumstance and I think we both recognized a certain future promise in each other that was not clearly visible to the Gods of Fate back then.
Fast forward thirty eight years later and we are still in each other’s lives. This relationship sits in my hall of fame as the longest non-blood connection I will ever have with another human being. Not to say by any means, ever, that she is not family – she is much more – I chose her and most definitively, she chose me.
Yesterday she celebrated a wedding anniversary, married to the man who will see her through the end of her days, a search that for her was not as easy as finding me.
And, while I wanted to congratulate them both for their union, I also wanted to remind them of the one thing that has made all the difference in this once misfit’s life…
I loved her first.