A little help from a long-distance friend
April E. Clark
One of the most beautiful facets of life is how friendships can form at any age. Even better, there’s no limit to how many friends we can make in life.
I’ve been known to befriend complete strangers.
I’m not sure if there’s an exact science to forming such bonds. Oftentimes, friends seem to come out of nowhere, when we least expect them and need them the most. Lifelong relationships can be built upon starting when we’re kids and our moms are best friends. Maybe we make connections in our golden years at the senior home. A friendship can begin by randomly running into a high school classmate on campus in college. Relationships might start after standing in line at the grocery store and starting up a conversation about an alien abduction on a “National Enquirer” cover.
In life, and Area 51, anything can happen.
Recently I was reminded how valuable friendship can be and the difference such a bond can make when life isn’t so pretty. The particular friendship that helped me through some sadness last week started almost seven years ago with a phone call about a room for rent. She was a friendly Illinois native named Susan who shared in my memories of a Midwest upbringing.
We’ve been known to find each other in Colorado.
Call it intuition, on both our parts, but we knew we were going to be friends from the start. I likely cracked some jokes. She probably sensed early on that she would always need to give me love advice. We were like Laverne and Shirley from the moment we met. We were both out in Colorado after big breakups that forever changed our lives. We were making our dreams come true in a basement apartment. We were always doing it our way.
I still need to sew a big A on all my sweaters.
With a master’s in art therapy, Susan always had a way of supporting me in a way I can best describe as calming. She knows I can be quick to react. She knows I’m always passionate, especially in love. I often jump into my relationships feet first … or sometimes like a cannonball into a deep lake. I may feel the burn in the splash, but oftentimes it turns out to be all fun and games. Susan is the logic when I’m blinded by the rapture. She knows what to say, and when to say it.
Quite simply, she is the April Whisperer.
These days, Susan and I live many states apart, though our bond remains constant. One phone call for a roommate blossomed into years of friendship that has survived time’s test and life’s challenges. We are no longer the single Laverne and Shirley of Glenwood Springs. She’s married and I, well, I’m still Laverne. She assures me that I’m doing the right thing when I allow myself to be vulnerable, even though that scares the heck out of me. Such openness to other’s actions, experiences and feelings isn’t always easy. I know that’s how I should live if I’m going to be happy in my life.
In friendships of all types.
In her own way of whispering, Susan helps me realize that everything is ultimately going to be all right. Like any friendship, life can change at a moment’s notice. She has reminded me that in my vulnerability, I am stronger than I know. And like a new friendship, I will be ready for it.
No matter what place I am in life.
—April E. Clark hopes the Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots this weekend. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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