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Between the pages of a book... - Nobody wears a white coat any more... — LiveJournal
...a tribute to becoming a doctor.
Between the pages of a book...
Went to see Jill, one of the girls in Angel's youth group, in Meet Me in St. Louis yesterday. Went to see her and her first-grade sister, who was playing Tootie.
There's a reminiscence that belongs here about high school, as I leaf through the program and see the ever-fresh "BFF!" fluttering through the seniors' biography blurbs. But I cannot find the words to speak it. I had best friends in high school, friends who swore we'd keep in touch as I went away - not to college, but to two more years of high school, somewhere else - and we didn't. It was somewhat my fault and somewhat theirs and mostly it was the way that time has of separating two people with a slow gentle feeling, like separating the two halves of a leaf to reveal the skeleton between.
I had best friends at the Academy, a tiny haven of academia in the middle of the tumult that is puberty. I had best friends and boyfriends and girls that I knew and met and loved and made and broke promises to. It was in those two fleeting years that I learned and forgot more about myself than I had imagined possible, and in those two years, near the very end, that at last the best friend and the boyfriend coincided, melded, and became the man I fell in love with.
I don't have a yearbook, or maybe I have one of the two from those years. I have autographs in a small bound book that I brought and carried around. There are no "BFF" written in those pages; in fact most of them have very little content at all. It is a collection of names, mostly, although it has its exceptions - Angel took up a half-dozen pages, just to prove me wrong; C, whom I adored and nearly worshiped, all unbeknownst to him if not the rest of the Academy, C who kissed me once with the briefest touch of lips to lips out of sheer orneriness at someone else's comment, whose every word I listened to with the sort of devotion only a teen-aged girl can summon up, C scrawled his name and "I have a big marker" in the widest-point laundry marker I've ever seen; there are other bits and pieces in those books that bring back memories. I have those. I have names. I have pictures in my mind and pieces of paper.
I still have the poem that D wrote, the yellowed printout that was once on my wall, and I can look at the almost-invisible scar on my left hand and realise that it is fading because I once valued the trust of a boy so completely that a single vow has maintained me for eight years, and I have not gouged my fingernails into my hands since that day. I have the fractal that A drew, and the memory of facing her across a bunk in a dark room. "Can I kiss you?" I said yes. I have never regretted it, nor forgotten that kiss. I have folded notes and memories and names and faces. Of them, only a few have I seen in the intervening years, and fewer still more than once.
I spent months in France with the girl I kissed in a dark room, and we spent one afternoon together in all that time. Mea culpa. I thought I was too busy.
And I have a big brother, somewhere out there, a boy I met in class whose face caught my eye the very first time I saw him, a face I thought then that I could love. A boy, mind you, whose name I didn't learn until nearly October, though I must have used it before then. He took my anklet, a braided strip of leather, and wore it as a bracelet. And then he wove my heart into it. If my thoughts were more expansive, I would tell you how it all came together, O Best Beloved, how I saw him at a haunted house when a strange and infinite moment enfolded us and I knew his thoughts as intimately as my own, how he sent me e-mail to an address I didn't know he knew and only later told me how he'd found it, what a strange and wonderful exchange it was to know that boy that I could have loved, who could have loved me. I would recall his ways, his habits of discovering me, the day I let it slip that I had no lunch break and never ate between breakfast if I went and dinner if I remembered, but for a bit of rice or a can of Mountain Dew. I drank Mountain Dew, then. He never let me go another day without lunch. He bought it for me, brought it to me, wouldn't allow me to pay him back or refuse. I don't know if I ever refused him anything. He never asked me to do something I couldn't, shouldn't, or wouldn't. And one day we named each other siblings in the heart, big brother, little sister, and I will never be able to forget him.
He came to my wedding, when I married my Angel, and he gave a blessing he had until then withheld, and the day was brighter for his approval.
I have not seen him nor spoken with him in two years or more, I think, and there is a man in my medical school class now whose face is like his, so very like his that every time I cross that man's path my heart turns over. I do not know his name.
Our lives, that boy I have called my brother's and mine, our lives are two halves of a leaf, a frail skeleton of veinery separating them and nourishing them, connecting them beneath the surface and unseen. And they have remained connected, if only by threads, touching occasionally and binding again. I have his jacket, from a long-ago winter night. He has a well-worn and tightly woven piece of my heart. Perhaps I will never see him again. I hope I will.

I suppose I do have the words, if in retrospect they are almost unbearably baroque in my reminisces. But perhaps I am alone in this...perhaps high school friendships are not so rare to endure as it seems. What about you, O Best Beloved? What about you?

now feeling:: nostalgic nostalgic

7 whispers echo . o O ( ... ) O o . whisper a word
nessers From: nessers Date: March 21st, 2004 09:38 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
It can't all turn out like that, can it? My mother still talks to her friend Charla from high school. I don't think I could make it through life without my Ryan, my Danielle. Without my Alison and my Josh. My Andrew and my Justine. They don't all end in nothing but memories, do they? I say I won't let it. We all do. But we're secretly fearing it the whole time. Because that's the kicker: we don't know.

I think I could marry Ryan, if we stayed in touch. And Danielle could be my maid of honour. We've been planning that since sixth grade. It can't just.. disappear because she goes to Rice and I go somewhere else, can it?

I know it's just high school, but I would give so much to have my children be able to have an Uncle Andrew and Aunt Justine. Maybe they'll be Ryan's, maybe they'll be someone else's. But I'm not sure I could be truly happy without the hope that on Christmas, a few of them stop by to exchange gifts.. without the hope that summers will mean rented cabins and road trips from college to college or from house to house with the kids quarrelling in the back.

Not everyone grows distant, do they?
ayradyss From: ayradyss Date: March 21st, 2004 09:46 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
I met Angel in high school...and no, not everyone grows distant. I still see some of my high school friends regularly, even. Like Dash, and like Mike who was over this weekend. Remember, I went away for the first time as a junior, so I only had towo years in each high school.
If it matters to you, then make it happen and put the effort out to keep in touch.
attickah From: attickah Date: March 22nd, 2004 06:31 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
Not everyone grows distant. I've stayed friends with 2 people since 3-4th grade (though one is in Alaska now and we don't talk as much as we used to...we're hardly the best friends we were at age 10) and 2 people since high school.

Whether you realize it or not, you end up prioritizing friendships...and the ones you keep up on are those you consider most important--sad though it is to look at it like that.
daimones From: daimones Date: March 22nd, 2004 06:10 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
Let's see. High school friends I know now and talk to on any regular basis...

You. And you weren't even in my highschool.

I think that's it. :)
tyomniye From: tyomniye Date: March 22nd, 2004 12:09 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)


I had one good friend I kept from high school. He was the one who didn't reject me when my thoughts and beliefs changed. My "Christian" friends watched me fall from the pedestal they'd somehow maneuvered me onto without my knowledge and then kicked the pieces after they lay on the floor. But then the one who still accepted me decided that his own interests were more important than our nearly 10 year friendship. So now I seek new friends and friends I never really took all the time I wanted to get to know in college. People change, friendships change. Sometimes it's easier to accept than others.
turnberryknkn From: turnberryknkn Date: March 22nd, 2004 04:49 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
(warm smile)

I once wrote an entry, Turning of the Seasons, about my oldest and best friend outside of the circle of my family, hoya99, whom I've shared friendship for thirteen years, across half a planet, and counting. The last time I heard from him was a few days ago, when his Lady successfully Matched...

I've been fortunate enough to have shared in many friendships, and their stories I've tried to share in my diary. Time and tide and fate have made some slip away. But they are all treasured and remembered.

We have a tradition, amongst the fellowship of friends gathered from Usenet that missysedai and I belong to, at the largest gathers that we have: a toast, that we raise, each and every time: for those friends unable to make; for those friends we have lost track of; for those friends we have lost from this life to the one beyond. A toast, which I raise with you now: To Absent Friends.


ayradyss From: ayradyss Date: March 22nd, 2004 05:22 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
*raises a glass in return*

To absent friends indeed.
7 whispers echo . o O ( ... ) O o . whisper a word