I met my first real best friend when I was in the 10th grade. We had gym class together. We met while running. More accurately, we met when we had rounded the back corner of the baseball field where the coach couldn’t see us, and we were walking. Willow was wearing an Wham t-shirt and had big hair. I thought she was a druggie. I don’t know what I was wearing, but I had a thick southern accent. I’m sure I had big hair too, since it was the 80’s. She thought I was a redneck. It was a match made in heaven.
I don’t really remember how our friendship progressed from there, but I know it quickly became adventures and sleepovers, usually at my house. She lived in a neighborhood close to me, and my mother and I began picking Willow up on our way to school. Willow and I laughed together, shopped together, watched movies together and analyzed everything a boy ever said to us together. We had to evaluate to see if his words really meant he liked us or he didn’t like us. We spent much time wondering what was wrong with us, since by the ripe old age of 15, neither of us had dated yet. We were convinced we were freaks.
A few times, Willow and I got to travel together. Once, when we were probably 17, we went to Daytona Beach with her family. My favorite memory of that whole trip was when we were driving back. Willow’s family was large, so we could not all fit in one vehicle. Her parents and younger siblings were in the car in front of us, and we were in Willow’s car. Traffic was terrible, and we quickly found ourselves stuck in the middle of an intersection in gridlock. An angry driver floored his car and came toward us like he was going to hit us. Willow’s dad saw this happen and quickly attempted to jump out of his car to come rescue us. Unfortunately, he forgot to unfasten his seatbelt first, so what started as a heroic act turned into a hilarious scene of him coming out and then being bounced back into his car. We laughed until we cried.
On other trips, we went by ourselves. I’m not sure what our parents were thinking, but they let us go. Somehow, we made it back alive. Remember, these were the days without GPS and cell phones. We loaded up the car and went, with paper maps in hand. Between Willow’s incredible lack of directional insight and my incredible inability to properly read a map, we were good to go!
Once, we went to Cocoa Beach. Of course, we were there during Spring Break, but we were nowhere near the typical Spring Break scene. We stayed in a quiet little motel near the water. No alcohol, no boys, no breaking the rules…we were quite the partiers. The most daring thing we did was drive across to Melbourne Beach to find a Subway. But, lest you think we were too cautious, we went at night. In the dark. With just a paper map. Woo. Rebels.
Actually, now that I’m an adult (well, sort of), I’ve wondered if my mother was aware that we did things like that when we traveled. (Now she’s aware…teehee…Hi, Mama! We were good, I promise!) Willow had a craving for a Subway sandwich, and back then, there was not a Subway on every corner. The only one we could find in the phone book (You see, kids…we used to use this thing called a phone book. It was made of paper, and we had to turn pages to find what we needed….) was across town. Little did we know it was in a seedy neighborhood, but Willow needed a sandwich. Out we went, with paper map in hand. We found it, and she got her sandwich. We made it back to the motel in the dark. We had come. We had seen. We had conquered. Luckily, we had not gotten murdered, mugged or maimed by the creepy guys hanging around the outside of the Subway.
We went to St. Augustine at least once. I know, I know. When you think of “Spring Break Party,” the country’s oldest city is the first thing that comes to mind. This time, we stayed at a roach motel right on the interstate. Classy. We weren’t even near the beach, but it didn’t matter. We created our own fun.
On this trip (and possibly some others), we decided to take promotional photos for the hotel. Of course, we knew it was just for our own fun, but it was, indeed, fun! I still have those pictures somewhere. There’s the one of Willow, sitting casually on the bed (back straight, legs crossed, not at all posed). She’s reading the Gideon Bible as though it is the most fascinating thing she’s ever seen. There’s the one of me standing in the shower, peeking out from around the curtain, with a shocked look on my face. We really were strange. It’s a good thing we’ve grown into such normal adults. (HA!)
So, this trip down memory lane was brought to you by the fact that Willow and I went on a Girls’ Trip this weekend. Let’s just call it, “Moms Gone Wild.” Okay. Maybe that’s not accurate. “Moms Talking, Laughing and Eating A Lot” is probably better.
We were remembering our past trips, and I realized, we really haven’t changed that much. Willow still has no sense of direction whatsoever. I still can’t read a map, but the GPS takes care of that, thank goodness. We are still as silly as ever, but now we don’t care whether boys like us or not. Our husbands do, and that’s all that matters. (Okay, well, we were a little giggly in front of the really cute waiter at dinner last night. However, when I realized he was probably 4 years older than my child, it sort of killed the mood.)
I will say, this time, we did not drive across town at night for a Subway sandwich. Nope. We’ve grown up. This time, we drove across town at night for a smoothie. And might I just give a big “thank you” to Smoothie King for being open until 11:00. I’m pretty sure it was going to be a long night if Willow didn’t get her smoothie.
There were no funny pictures on this trip. We’re much too mature for that. Okay. That’s a lie. This time I posed like I was reading.
Our plans were to sit by the pool and read and go to the beach and read. We did manage to go to the beach. For 30 minutes. Until it rained. We didn’t read there. We walked by the pool. I read status updates on Facebook a few times. Does that count?
When we were in high school, since Willow and I shopped together and discovered the same sales, we had many outfits that were alike. Several times, we accidentally showed up to school dressed alike. It really was by accident. We weren’t THOSE girls. Anywho, I had just thought that it was funny how different our clothing styles are now and how there was no chance we would dress alike now that we are grown. However, as I sat writing this, wearing a black shirt and brown capris pants, Willow came out of her room wearing a black shirt and brown shorts. I guess some things never change. I’m pretty sure our friendship is one of those things.
I’m blessed by a few good friends, and Willow was my first true lifelong friend. She and I are so different in so many ways, but we are also alike. Best of all, we can be goofy together without fear of judgment or ridicule. Okay, maybe there will be a little ridicule, but it’s only done in love. This is my hope for my kids that each can find a Willow. Well, not my Willow. She’s taken. They’ll have to find their own. -Al