I had a friend when I was a child. We could walk to each other’s homes. We went to different schools so our time together was always in the neighborhood. She was a year or two older than I. There’s a lot I remember about her, there is a lot I am sure I have forgotten. She is the first person to encourage me to eat peanut butter on pancakes. I shuddered. I tried it. I loved it. She had long blondish hair and an enormous smile. I attended her high school graduation. When I was a junior or senior in high school she got pregnant. I remember talking to her about her fears and concerns. Suddenly, she seemed so much older than I. I felt like the child I was. She seemed to have taken a fast track to maturity. I went to the hospital after the baby was born. I don’t remember the course of events but we lost track of one another. But I have often thought about, very fondly, her and her little blonde haired baby boy. And, in my memory, that is how they remain.
I came across a FaceBook page. I saw a very familiar smile. Is that her? The picture was very small. When I clicked on it I suddenly saw my friend. Not the aged version in front of me but the friend of my childhood and her incredible smile. I went to her page. It was no longer active.
There was a post about the death of her son. I went to the obituaries to find him. There he was. The grown man I never knew. The time from when I held him as a newborn, to the picture of a grown man in his obituary, spanning decades. Lifetimes. His lifetime. I couldn’t help but search to see his mother in his face. Remnants of her youth in him. I went back and forth between the one picture of her, and the one picture of him.
I have traveled back and forth in my thoughts, since learning all of this. In my time frames. I wonder. What did that lifetime hold that I once held in my arms while I sat with my young friend. What did her lifetime with him hold, that I will never know anything about. I don’t know where to go with these thoughts, emotions even. I think of my childhood friend and the lifetime of her child that I never knew. I think of her as a mother. I think.
I write this in remembrance of childhood. To recall my friend and our time, though long ago, together. With hope that her heart is healthy with memories and laughter shared with him. In compassion for her loss though she will likely never know. Maybe, just to give time now, to our time then.
I had a friend. I would want her to know I think of her.