One of the most vivid memories of my childhood is a bit of an elusive, weird thing: it’s my mother’s devotion to her best friend. My mother felt and “did”—and still does—friendship so exuberantly, so passionately, that when I was a child I could feel the love wash through our house when her friend was around.
Her relationship with her best friend seemed almost like romantic love to me: long talks into the night, visits to the theater, tearful conversations over the phone. They lived on opposites ends of the same street and one night, not being able to finish their conversation and say good-bye, they walked each other home back and forth, several times on the dark, quiet street, until the early morning hours.
To my mother, a friendship is a connection of souls, something to be treasured and protected and nurtured. Friendship is unconditional, never-ending. She was—and is—always there for her friends in very practical, physical ways as well: picking up kids from school, cooking meals, helping with errands, planning surprise birthday parties. Anything for friendship.
That rush of emotion I had when I was around her and her friend comes back to me often now that I am an adult. I crave that connection with that one perfect friend, who would reciprocate my feelings. But it remains elusive and I wonder now, if it’s even possible.