On Monday, I missed the biggest event of 2012, my best friend’s wedding. Scrolling through the past months of this blog, it’s obvious to see why I was unable to make it: a monumental move that sucked me dry, traveling in Europe, and an overall inability to save; however, it wasn’t easy looking for signs of life via photos on Facebook while she (Val), her groom DB, and other friends and family partied under coconut-scented breezes in the Dominican Republic. (I imagine it was warm, sultry, starry, balmy).
Val and I met on the first day of high school, it pleased me to see another black person and one that shared the same name. As aforementioned, my junior high school was color-less, so transferring to another school district for high school was a happy day (despite, the all-girls, Catholic high school thing). Her first question to me was “Where are you from?” which made me a bit wary. I thought it was a strange first question and didn’t want to answer, because I thought I’d be judged on my nationality. She thought I was strange (and I was/am).
Val and I were good friends in high school, but didn’t spend much time together outside of school. She was more interested in boys, clothes and dances than I was (I could count the dances I went to on one hand), and she was less interested in cutting school and going to the city. (The best thing about Long Island is its proximity to Manhattan, and another friend and I would miss school once a week, or every other, and check it out. My absence report in my junior year was stupendous). It’s funny that in high school, no one knew my real age, because I was a year and a half younger than everyone and I didn’t want them to know, and now I’m not discussing my age, because I don’t want anyone here to know. (Why must this life always involve some sort of denial?).
We kept in touch in college (pre My Space, pre Facebook, pre everyone having their own cellphone). We spent a summer in London when we were twenty, a truly memorable experience. We lived with two other Americans in one room in Belsize Park, four single beds side by side, a tiny toilet and shower, and a tv on the wall over our heads; all that luxury, for one thousand pounds a month. We both really wanted to travel, she suggested London, and I jumped on it. In the first week, we blew through half of our money, cabbing it and eating at restaurants and pubs. After working for an entire summer, she at a pub, me at a restaurant, we left London with zero pounds.
We lived together on Grand Street in New York in the early millennium, where we and three other friends did nothing but go to bars on the Lower East Side (Guernica, Bobs, Ludlow Bar, Luanns), listen to music, have dinner parties on mismatched plates and plastic cups, play Scattergories, talk and talk and talk, then argue, eat cupcakes/hot wings/sushi/pizza, and think about how we were young, free and in NYC. Eventually, our group drifted physically and emotionally; NY wasn’t doing it for any of us anymore. However, we’d lived so many days in and out with each other that it was impossible not to reconnect.
I recently read a quote on some wall that said “Real friendship is earned.” We joke that my months in Tokyo have been a re-creation of Grand Street, and it’s true. Everything that’s happening now was done in NY, but something’s missing. As much as I love it here, it would be nice to have someone who really knows me nearby; someone who sent me Entemanns cupcakes over two thousand miles; someone I’m not in some form of denial around; someone who knows when I’m bs’ing; someone who doesn’t need me to finish every sentence; someone who knows my favorite everything and doesn’t need to ask questions. I know real friendships take time, but in terms of having a “true,” irreplaceable friend, I’ve already found my “someone.” (Now, a divine force needs to send me “somebody to love” in the biblical sense).