Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Message to a Friend

The picture above is of me and my best friend Terry on our high school Graduation Day. That’s me on the left. Take note of the little date stamped on the side of this cheesy old, dog-eared instamatic color photo I’ve kept for over thirty years: "Jul 73."

Today is Terry’s fiftieth birthday. I lost track of her about seven years ago. She came out for a visit, then went home to Arizona and disappeared from my life. On purpose, I think, though I don’t know why. We didn’t fight, or really do much of anything during her visit. Tried to keep it positive and fun…went to the beach and flew kites. She had finally divorced her alcoholic husband, and made a fleeting reference to thinking about marrying some rich guy that she didn’t love, just for the money. Maybe she thought I wouldn’t approve. But within weeks of her return home, she had moved, left no forwarding address. My letter came back marked "undeliverable." And I never heard from her again. Methinks she knows where I am, though…every year, we get a gift magazine subscription from her. I think they probably notified her when we changed our address three years ago. This knowledge has kept me from trying to "find" her. She knows where to find me…if she wanted contact with me, she would initiate it. So I just…let it lie.

I got to thinking about her today when I realized what day it was. It was in my mind to go back and dig up all the letters she had written me after we relocated to Oregon. Of course, I saved them. There’s something about written words that speak of history to me, and I can’t throw them away. When we were cleaning out the garage this past weekend, I unearthed some of the letters she had written just after we moved away. I sat down to read one, and it about ripped my guts out. I realized that this friend with whom I was peevish because of her relationship choices, of whom I despaired because it never seemed like we shared the deep relationship that lifetime girlfriends should, who I rejected when she finally came to me, needing something that I didn’t know how to give (just an ear, just a shoulder to cry on…); this beautiful friend had a much better understanding of our relationship than I ever had. And now, of course, I miss what I never appreciated until just this minute.

Happy Birthday, Ms. Tree. I hope you’re spending this milestone day wherever and with whomever makes you the happiest.


  1. All mannnn.....What sucks is not being able to fix whatever it was.  But you know what, maybe it was not something you did or say, but something she is going through.  Many people in my past have called me a flake because I drop out of their existence.  But because I can feel ten years go like it was yesterday, and I can do this with anyone and any event, I have a hard time remembering what I am doing to them.

    Glad to hear that you two actually got in the garage! LOL!  Go you, the husband over here, still has not touched "the projects."  

    She will come around, she is keeping her communication line open the way she needs to right now, -----that subscription is a worthy reminder of that.  

    Happy Birthday Ms. Tree!

    Btw, no wonder hubby grabbed you up, you were/is quite the hottie.

  2. Oh Lisa!  This is such a poignant entry.  Why is it that sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees?  Maintaining a "best friend" relationship with someone from high school days can certainly be a challenge.  I have a friend who has drifted in and out of my life since those days too.  Take heart that Terry probably knows where you are and when you least expect it, one day you will hear from her again.  Love the graduation picture.  Didn't we all think we were so grown up on that day?

  3. Wow....sounds like a mystery wrapped in an enigma!  How odd that she would lay low and yet send you a gift subscription every year.  Maybe she's in witness protection???

  4. You both look SO happy.

  5. This is sweet.  I hope she finds you again.

  6. Maybe she's in witness protection???


  7. I have had so many friends that I wonder about and have lost contact with. Most of them were online but we used to talk all the time. I don't know what happened but o well. Happy Bornday to your friend.


  8. It seems to me that she does what contact with you. Otherwise, why would she continue to send you a subscription every year. If I were you, I'd bite the bullet and hunt her down. Shoot, a little internet search is probably all that it would take.
    ::::nudge-nudge:::: Come on, do it! :-) ---Robbie