This morning, I arose early to lug a huge suitcase down 5.5 flights of apartment stairs, pull it through the streets of Paris, and down into the bowels of the city to catch the train, ride it for 40 minutes to Charles De Gaulle Airport, then navigate my way through what is surely one of the most confusing airports in the world to see my friend, Margo, safely back to the USA on 9/11.
But that’s what friends do — even when they’d much rather be sleeping or gnawing on a baguette.
On the train ride back to my sixth-floor walkup in the 1st Arrondissement in, arguably, the most beautiful city in the world, I thought a lot about the beauty of old friendships. What a treasure they are and how wonderfully surprising to have weathered the test of time. Worn and comfortable, they’re kind of like your favorite chair — molded to know just where you need support.
Margo and I became friends when I was 19 years old. Thirty-five years. A lifetime ago. We’ve helped each other traverse the mountains and valleys that life has thrown our way because that’s what friends do.
You amass a lot memories in three-and-a-half decades. Silly stuff — like the Tennis magazine I swiped from a waiting room in some building at the University of Alabama because it featured a player Margo had a crush on — to seriously sad stuff — like my divorce or my dad’s Alzheimer’s or the death of Margo’s beloved mother and brother — to stupendously wonderful stuff like birthing children or a business or falling in love and marrying again when you thought your destiny was to go it solo.
Life is grand, but it ain’t easy. Friends help make it bearable when it seems unbearable and remind us that the sun will reappear despite all the dark clouds roiling overhead.
Thanks, Margo, for being there when the chips are down or up and when the good times roll or fall flat. I know I can always count on you to do what friends do.