“You have a very round face.”
These were the first words 10 year-old-Louise ever said to me, on the playground at my new school. They were not expressed critically; she was being pleasantly observational. I couldn’t be offended.
I envied her. She was also in Grade 5, but was one of the lucky few sharing the Grade 6 classroom. I believed I belonged there too, and spent the year watching her from afar, wanting to inhabit her world.
The following year we were in class together, and became BFFs. Louise Anne Webster, my first real friend.
Together we read Harriet the Spy and kept notebooks. We rode bikes and climbed hills and wrote (and performed) plays. We knew all about sharing bedrooms and doing chores and babysitting in our big families. We knew what it was like to be literate and introverted and not-like-the-other-girls.
We understood each other. Forty years later, we still do.
I am grateful for friendships that survive the decades, that span the rifts of time and place and religion and questionable life choices. Glad that my first BFF and her husband came to spend several nights in my home.
We’ve been able to catch up in a leisurely and gentle fashion, to get beyond the tales of what our kids and siblings are doing, to get to dreams and motivations and wonderings.
More than letters and blog posts and the occasional meal over the years, these days have made clear that the important stuff hasn’t changed, that the heart-and-mind connection remains. And that these connections are vital to me, and perhaps to us all.
This very round face is smiling.
What about you? Has a childhood friendship endured? If so, how does it make you glow?