My phone vibrated from across the room, something it rarely does since I removed all the notification alerts.
It was a phone call and I instantly recognized the name sprawled across my screen: Miranda.
Miranda was one of my closest friends here in North Carolina. She was one of my adventure buddies, cut from the same theatrical cloth I was. She’d been on my mind recently, as we hadn’t spoken in quite some time. She moved away several years ago and I still miss her dearly.
With all the work stress building up and just the heaviness of life, I found my thoughts drifting back to those sweet days when we were all together.
There were so many nights like this I can’t keep track, but it would go something like this:
Miranda and her roommate Charlotte had a darling apartment in midtown Wilmington; I’d pop through the door – there was no need to knock, these ladies were practically family and I’m chronically early as I’m predisposed to be. Charlotte was the foodie of the group, she always had something yummy cooking and as a fellow coffee snob, she always prepared the best. She was a kind hearted lady with a calming presence who always had something uplifting to say. Miranda was usually attempting to open a wine bottle with her electronic wine opener that worked only half the time (I could never figure it out and always went for the manual method). Miranda set the mood with lighting and decor, always dressed perfectly for the occasion. Her sense of hospitality inspired my own: she’d pour me a glass of wine and ask how life was, and actively listened to the reply. As the three of us chit-chatted, the door opened again, and Samantha, the gorgeously tall bubbly blonde would walk in and that’s when the party started. I never thought I would be friends with a sorority girl like Samantha, but her beauty went soul deep. Samantha was incredibly intelligent, yet she came across as the girl next door, friendly and sweet.
Our foursome was complete.
We’d sip wine and talk – no subject was off limits – we all had different perspectives, thoughts, vocations, and upbringings; because of this, we meshed so well together.
But back to the evening: Miranda was always inventing weird dishes, like pizza chips – tortilla chips with spaghetti sauce and topped with cheese – that was born out of the need for snack while slightly intoxicated at my house. Did you know that peanut butter M&M’s in popcorn is an amazing combination? Miranda’s Texas roots also required her to make her famous queso. Charlotte would make cookies or something more traditional. I brought games. Samantha brought more wine. It was a party.
After snacking and opening the bottle of wine Samantha brought, we’d settle into a game. With the four of us, it often turned into a silent laugh fest, as we were laughing so hard, we could barely play. It wasn’t just the wine: these ladies were downright hilarious with their quick wit. I’d much rather be one of the guys, I’ve always struggled to have female friends because I am not your typical female. Yet, this was the first group since college that I could hang out with, being my carefree self and truly enjoy their company. It was a rare find, this combination of amazing ladies.
All of us were Christians, too, bonded by the love of Christ.
Our shenanigans were many: we’d go downtown (sometimes til 3am), jump out of airplanes, see a play, travel halfway across the deep south for a surprise bachelorette party weekend, exchange Christmas gifts (and host our own Christmas party!), go to festivals, go out to dinner, walks, naps – we did it all and then some.
And then like all good things must come to an end, we slowly unraveled. Charlotte got married and military orders to move several hours away. The three of us still got together, but it wasn’t the same without our Charlotte. Miranda always promised she’d move back to Texas and kept her word. Then it was just me and Samantha. Both of us moved to new neighborhoods that are a solid 40 minute drive apart: Samantha got married and became a mom too, so her world radically changed as well.
I’m the only one who didn’t change.
And yet, I miss us; sometimes achingly so.
And who’s to say that even if we all still lived here in North Carolina that our group wouldn’t have changed with the times?
Back to the phone call, I answered and we caught each other up on life. I told Miranda that I really missed the nights when the four of us were all together, laughing and just enjoying each other’s company. I had to pause for a moment at one point, as I choked up realizing all of this was merely a memory and the four of us couldn’t meet up because of husbands, children, distance, and the flow of our current lives. I mourn who we used to be.
Miranda reminded me that hope was not lost. Nonetheless, I am without solid friendships in this period of life. I had a few other friends, but they have all relocated as well. I’m once again where I was in 2009; adrift and contemplating moving to a big city.
The only thing keeping me here is the Atlantic. And even that I chart alone.
I’m not sure what my next steps are. The homeschooling moms at church are so beyond me and my womanhood, I feel like a college student with them, despite the fact I’m older. The older ladies are far too much in a box for me, locked into causes that still elude me. There aren’t many spaces for my demographic of married without kids in my 40’s – a non-conformist to boot.
I hope to find another friend core group where I fit in seamlessly with the others. And soon.