Many, many years ago I went off to college and discovered things about myself. I discovered that being successful academically meant I had to do at least some work. I was amazed to learn that others enjoyed good literature. And I found that the most interesting people were those who always had a long list of things they wanted to read/learn/experience.
At the end of my sophomore year I drew perhaps the worst housing lottery number possible. It looked like I was doomed to the boonies, alone. And then Maggie, an upstairs neighbor, came to my rescue. She and another neighbor wanted to get a suite in our dorm, and they offered to adopt me. Why, I don't know. We weren't close friends.
One thing I liked about Maggie was that she had a good laugh. (It's one of my requirements for friends: laugh well and have a sense of whimsy.) She knew way more than I did about classical music. She had long, long blonde hair. We ended up getting along well. And the following two years we roomed close to one another in single rooms.
I don't quite know when or how Maggie and I got in contact the first few years out of school, but I do know one thing: she did all the contacting. In those days it had not yet occurred to me that I could retain friendships even if my immediate world shifted location. I'd moved twice in my childhood, and left friends behind, never to hear from them again. So I left college, not really expecting to ever see my pals again. I went off to live in Puerto Rico for a year, and somehow Maggie stayed in touch. She moved to France, and somehow stayed in touch. I moved to Philadelphia, and we (or she) stayed in touch.
In Maggie I discovered someone who liked me enough to continue being my friend across time and oceans and foolishness and growing up. And I decided I wanted to be that kind of friend, too. The kind that would call once in a blue moon to chat, or go to the ballet, or meet for supper. The type of person who wants to be at your wedding, and who likes your kid, and who just plain exudes I like you. Because there are people I really do like, and it's worthwhile to let them know. Even if we're not physically near each other.
My resolution to learn how to be a good friend doesn't mean I'm good at sending out Christmas cards (I'm five years late, and counting) and I truly stink at remembering birthdays. But today happens to be Maggie's birthday. I am remembering it, and appreciating her friendship for all these years, and I am very, very thankful to have her in my life. Cheers, Magpie. I love you.