Old friends

The email was the last of more than 250 in my inbox at work.
“Thomcat, are you doing any book signings in Texas? Scully wants to explore her roots.”
It was from an old friend, a former lover. Someone I haven’t seen in more than 10 years, let alone talked to in more than five.
I returned the email, said it was good to hear from her and asked for her number, so we could talk and catch up.
“It’s good to hear your voice,” she said Monday night.
“Yours too,” I said.
We told our stories. Our hardships and heartbreak. Our triumphs and our successes.
We’ve been through a lot she and I, over the course of the last two years.
We met as pool lane mates in a masters swim program. She was getting out of a bad marriage and mine was on the rocks. Swimming at 5 a.m. was a way to escape our houses, put some miles on in the pool, forget – for just an hour – the pressures and pain.
We became friends, along with another dear friend (who now I intend to reconnect with this week) and formed our own little clique.
We’ve been through a lot together, she and I. A trip to Mexico with two other girlfriends. Nights on the lawn of the Dallas Museum of Art to hear concerts and drink Chilean wine. Dinners at her Jewish family’s household, where ham was served (and I never let her forget the it).
While roller blading on the grounds of the State Fair of Texas, just a few weeks before I made the decision to come to California, we decided to take her daughter to the Dallas SPCA and look at the puppies.
And I ended up with Scully.
Her daughter, who was 6 at the time, told me Monday night that she remembered helping to name the dog. She insisted I call her Honey, because of the color of her fur. P being observant of my uncomfort, suggested Scully, as the hot show at the time was The X Files. And she deftly steered her daughter away from a fit when she suggested that the dog’s name be Scully Honey.
And so it is.
I asked her why now, why contact me after all this time?
“I’ve just been wanting to reconnect with old friends.”
I told her she was the one person I tried to reach out to when my second marriage blew up in December. I wrote her a long, rambling email and asked that she respond. That if she didn’t respond, I was OK with that too.
I had the email address wrong. She never got it.
“I would have responded, you know that.”
She asked why I had sought her out.
“Because you understand me – and you’ve never judged me.”
The hour got late in California – and really late in Texas – so we agreed that five years was too long of a time to go without speaking. Promises were made to keep in touch.
A promise I intend to keep.
Because throughout the conversation, I kept thinking of the richness of my life – and the challenges going forward that make life so damn interesting.
Because of old friends – and friends not yet met.
It took one phone call to close the gap of time and miles with P.
I am glad for that email, especially now.

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