It was a different time. Best friends met face-to-face.
Allison and I trudged or biked the few blocks between our houses whenever anything was up – good or bad. When my crush didn’t ask me to the dance or her dad was on her case over her marks. When a new record came out we’d been dying to hear, or one of us got our hands on a particularly gory horror flick.
To fuel our conversations, which included tears, the occasional rant and always Allison’s signature musical giggle, there had to be food. The preferred menu item: a crispy platter of sweet potato fries. Mayo on the side.
We’d dip and talk across the kitchen table, deciphering every nuance of teenage life. Did that look he gave me earlier in the cafeteria mean something? What is with Ophelia anyway? Why did Friday afternoons seem so endless? Should we both try to get jobs at the same fast-food joint, or stick with babysitting?
Or we’d haul our snacks into the basement and crank the stereo, singing full blast (and often dancing too). Or watching comedies and horror movies loud with the lights off. After the movie was over, when we were so tired and trying to haul ourselves off to bed, Allison would get a second wind. She’d imitate the actors in the movie (and half our class). I’d be rolling on the floor.
That was a long time ago. Now, it’s not just teens who don’t seem to meet face-to-face. Allison and I went in different directions after high school. She’s now in another province and I only see her every few years when she comes home to visit her family. She came to my wedding. I went to her mom’s funeral. And we still Skype, every few months.
We arrange the calls and, for old times’ sake, I’ll make my own platter of sweet potato fries, and she’ll make one too. Things have changed: she’s big on the straight cut but I like the crinkle and how the ridges get extra brown.
We’ll chat, we’ll dip, and lick our salty fingers and talk about those old high school crushes and assignments, and also our jobs, our kids, roofs that needs replacing and cars we just can’t afford. Her giggle is the same, the fries taste the same. Our lives have changed but, boy am I lucky, this best friend connection is still there.