Somehow life knows what you need when you need it, even before you do. I’ve been searching for a particular friend I grew up with. My only regret about leaving New Zealand 21 years ago was leaving my brother and my circle of friends. In particular there was best friend Yvette, whom I’ve known since I was six and reconnected with last year on Facebook, and Jacquie, who became an instant best friend when I met her at age 12. On leaving NZ I wrote to a number of friends, got letters every other day for several months and spent a great deal of my spare time writing back to them. But, as time marched on, I made new friends at my new school and they moved on with their lives; we slipped away from each other and eventually lost contact. It was always relatively easy to find one another again since they knew my Aunty’s address where we lived for the first few years of our return to Australia, and I knew where they were – NZ is a small place with a small population. But as we aged and names changed, it became more difficult to track those friends. Then Facebook happened. I’ve reunited with more than half a dozen friends through Facebook, and the latest find is the pièce de résistance: Jacquie found me right when I needed her to. And the beautiful thing is that she lives in Australia too.
The friends I went to school with are among the most important people in my life. I influenced and was influenced by them. They remember me in a way that no one else can. I expanded and grew with them rather than beneath their gaze. We developed our realities, beliefs and personalities within the cradle of our friendships and never felt shy about expressing those realities. We are all very different people now, adults with very different realities than the ones we started with, but we all remember. Remembering allows me to touch those spaces that have been secured away deep inside since I left childhood. It is fascinating that finding these childhood friends allows me to look into myself and see that the little person is still there, watching life unfold just as she thought it would: wondrously.