I mentioned previously (serendipity) that we are currently on the tail end of a family vacation. While in Ottawa, I had the opportunity to spend some time with my good friend, Sarah.
I met Sarah in my first year of university. I did not live in the dorms at any point in university, so sought out clubs as a way of meeting people. We attended a club meeting and Sarah sat down beside me. She said later that she chose to sit beside me because of the shirt I was wearing. It was blue and seemed welcoming and safe to her.
We clicked immediately, but it took most of our first year for us to forge a meaningful friendship. We crossed paths intermittently and, for several months, I always happened to be wearing the same shirt I was wearing when we met. At first, Sarah joked that I must have only one shirt, but I think she later started to become suspicious that it was true. I think we became better friends partly as an effort on my part to expose her to the rest of my wardrobe and allay her suspicions.
The following summer was a summer we later referred to as “the summer from hell.” I actively searched but was unable to find a job, was having roommate problems, and was up against a self-worth dilemma I came later to call my “first quarter-life crisis” (and not my last, by a long shot). Sarah, who was used to the company of others, struggled with living alone for the entire summer in a house she had rented with four other students, all of whom would not begin living there until September. And that certainly wasn’t the sum of her troubles. Spending time together lent us reprieve from the despair that ailed us.
On days when we felt particularly anxious, we would sprawl out on her couch under puffy duvets and watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s. There was a line in the film about the mean reds and I suppose we felt it described pretty accurately the way we were feeling.
“The blues are because you’re getting fat, and maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of.”
– Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Other days, laughter would consume us over the silliest things. We would make up goofy show tunes and sing them at the top of our lungs, dancing around the house to our own ridiculous choreography.
It all sounds ludicrous and puerile but, without getting overly dramatic, there is a very good possibility that, without Sarah at my side that summer, I might not have made it to September and wouldn’t be writing this today.
Years later, when I married, Sarah was my best groomsmaiden. I know it went against tradition to have a woman stand up for me on my wedding day, but who else would I want at my side but a friend with whom I had shared some of the best and worst days of my life?
Contact is rare nowadays. Over the years, we moved apart and now live on opposite sides of the province; also, our schedules don’t match up very well. But every now and again, we manage to get in touch, and we simply pick up where we last left off.
When I try to figure out why Sarah and I clicked together so well, I am sometimes at a loss. But I think it’s just because we were a couple of misfits who found each other, not unlike Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak.
This post is dedicated to all the misfits, to best friends, and mostly to Sarah, who has added a little bit of sparkle to my life. Today, I am thankful for her.