Last night a group of us met up for drinks at AMUSE Wine Bar in the Honolulu Design Center.
It had been a long day, and a glass of rosé sounded incredibly appealing.
And it had been a long time since I had seen this particular group of girlfriends. As it happens, life had pulled many of us in different directions. What had brought us together initially — we were all volunteers in the Cherry Blossom Festival — wasn’t something we all shared anymore. Some of us still helped out, others moved on. So we didn’t have that annual reason — the festival and all of its events — to bring us together.
It’s not that we don’t keep in touch. Thanks to social media and texting, it’s easier than ever to stay in contact with your friends, even ones who don’t live here anymore. I probably text some of them several times a week — sometimes several times a day — but could go weeks without ever seeing them face-to-face.
And therein lies the rub, right? We stay in touch electronically, but we don’t actually see each other anymore. We don’t talk or laugh or hug — and that’s something sorely missing in our lives.
So while we’re mostly caught up on things like births and illnesses and vacations and new jobs and husbands, we don’t really know the details of our lives. And it’s in these details that I think make close friendships so special.
I got to the wine bar a bit late, frantically scrambling to get home before heading back into town. (I forgot how bad Downtown Honolulu traffic at pau hana can be!) Most of my friends were there already, some with half-filled glasses of wine. We fell easily into catch-up conversations about everything from a son who’s trying out for the football team at school to my recent experience with a Chinese healer. (Long story, maybe a blog later.)
This group, several years ago, was a very different bunch. Most of us were single without kids (and fewer dogs). Some were starting new jobs or careers, others were trying to get of them. Some of us were dating and knocking back shots and planning girls’ trips to Vegas. It was a carefree, stressful, exuberant time.
And then we got married, had kids, adopted more dogs (then chickens), bought homes, changed careers, became full-fledged, mortgage-paying adults with beneficiaries. It all happened so fast!
I feel like I’m late to this adult game, having one unsuccessful marriage and no luck in the child department. But as it turns out, it doesn’t matter. It never mattered. We weren’t friends because we had a ton in common. We were friends because, as luck had it, our meandering paths in life had intersected. And we liked each other. I mean, truly liked each other. It’s a real, genuine appreciation for the other person, and that’s what makes this group so special.
I love that one of them is a master of spreadsheets. I love that another has a photographic memory and always calls my dad, “Andy.” I love that one has every single Apple product that has ever existed — and is totally unashamed about it.
I couldn’t be more different from these women and, yet, we all get along. We laugh with our eyes closed — being Asian helps — and know when to pull someone in for a warm hug. We have all been there for each other through divorces, promotions, births, miscarriages, marriages, every heartache and every celebration.
We may not celebrate birthdays or hang out every weekend or even meet up for coffee once a month. But we text, we keep up on Facebook and we know that if we ever need a friend, we always have each other.