It was an amazing and awkward night. We must do it again soon.
We began with a dinner date - hooking up on a cold cement sidewalk and searching for an establishment suitable enough for two girls to enjoy a delicious dinner. We needed something that offered an atmosphere entirely encouraging of comfortable banter.
We slid into our seats and dove into conversation. It has been well over a year since this girl and I had connected alone and without influence. It confirmed that we were still as friendly as ever, but also that we have grown older. Our conversation also concluded that while we had desperately spent the last two years denying our age and slowing the inevitable leave from a careless time, our life had done what lives do; they had moved on. New insecurities, new problems, and a new desire for a friend and female companion. We both wanted someone to spill to, someone who would appreciate our plight and tell us what to do.
That was awkward.
The social stops and starts, the little pauses between deciding a decision should be made and actually making it. The conversation, too excited and lopsided one sentence, pulled back, nervous, hesitant even, in the next.
There is something that occurs between two people, something that allows them to form a relationship and hold onto it though years of turmoil and triumph, but did we still have it?
This girl, Alena; she was front row and centre when I became me, complete and full fledged, and now that we don't see each other as much as we would like, we still have this innate ability to meet and pick up exactly where we left off. It's as if I just stepped out of the room for a minute and jumped right back in.
That was pretty amazing.
We met in my second year of university. My first year of studies had not gone as planned. Separated by over 4200 kilometres (almost 2500 miles) I missed my parents. Joined by my high school boyfriend I was miserable, and my studies had not engrossed my attention as I had hoped.
The daughter of my landlord upon my return to Ontario, little Alena and I became fast friends. We were together constantly, and alone often. Our studies gripped our passions and parties filled our weekends. When things happened the other was consulted. When down time was needed we would curl up on her bed and chill, together, for hours. Somehow we could read each other like a book - painful topics were avoided, alcohol was poured and silence prevailed when our minds rode heavily with contemplation.
She was the small, quiet girl who was scrappy to a tee. Always one to stay small and keep quiet Alena had a tendency of going along to get along. Oddly enough, she also had a way of getting what she wanted, no matter the cost. Everything was negotiated to a decent fee. It didn't happen very often, but it was brilliant to to watch when it did.
I, on the other hand, was the louder more domineering part of our pair. Always with a new idea and some neon accessory I stood out and wrote my essays the night before they were due. My employment experience swelled and I was always involved in the social circuit. I stood out and I stepped out.
But we were both there, watching, waiting and wondering. We encouraged when needed and agreed to keep our dirty laundry a secret - to my knowledge it still its in its smelly basket.
Our unsaid motto "you can do better than me, and I can be better than you;" defined us and propelled us forward until here we sat, across a pub table from each other. After years together, would a noticeable separation break us? Was the geography too much? Were we too different now, with husbands and fiances and careers to plan?
I popped the lemon garnish on my glass of water into the cold liquid, nervous for the waitress to bring my wine. The wine I had ordered certainly didn't match my dinner but it would taste good and go down easily. It was calm the nerves that were silently exploding under the pressure. Alena eyed up my water glass, and noticing her lemon sat still propped up on the rim, pushed it into the water swirling below.
Our glasses, and now our mindsets, matched.
After sleeping the night off on her couch I awoke at a comfortable nine thirty in the morning. Comfortable considering I had yet to befit the hour and a half drive home, but oh so early for a girl who didn't set down her glass until three thirty the night before.
Despite my lack of sleep and excess of alcohol, I awoke serene and comfortable. Her home smelled familiar and calm. It was cold and blowy outside but not enough to slow the Saturday morning traffic.
I stood to use the bathroom, just in time to hear the bathroom door shut and the invader begin to fumble with taps and toothbrushes.
It felt like home. It was where I was supposed to be.
I just love mornings like that.