Being only child taught me early on that I had to be emotionally independent and face the challenges in life without “second opinions”. Although, my mom’s siblings were almost my own–they were still in school and living with my grandmother, my mom, and me while I grew up–I was still flying solo most of the time.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed my solitude. I played with dolls, read books, and imagined having conversations with fictional characters that were everywhere all the time –don’t worry; I am not a schizophrenic, though my husband would beg to differ!
I honestly can say I never missed having siblings because life gave me “sisters’ in my good friends. Since high school all the way through my early adult years in Colombia, I forged friendships that have lasted me a life time. For example, the third week of my vacation in Bogotá went by in the company of my best friend from school –who I am with in the picture above– and her two urchins who are my son’s best buddies now. She adamantly asked me to clarify that her “round” figure is due to her third pregnancy. The days I have spent with her brought old memories that reminded me how much I treasure my friends.
To me, finding a good friend is a quest that requires patience like gold mining; you must pick up a lot of dirt and mud in a pan before the precious metal dives to the bottom by its weight.
Since I was a teenager my mom used to tell me: “You should count your true friends with the fingers of only one hand” and I believe she is right; five is the number of my best friends. What a loser right? In this Facebook, Instagram, and social media era I guess I could be labeled a hermit! I don’t even understand how Instagram works even though I have downloaded it three times. Anyways, all I know is that those five friends account for millions of digital friends, who are always ready to help if I send an SOS signal.
Because I like keeping the anonymity of my human characters, I’ll use some Disney princesses to describe my “girls”. I have my Snow White, not only because of her physical appearance but because of her talent to keep people together. She is like human glue. When we were in high school, her house was the “party house” where dwarfs, bunnies, squirrels, and witches –her friends who I didn’t like– mingled and always had a great time.
A few years later, I met my Ariel at my first day of college. She is a natural fish in any water; adaptable. If she were a mermaid she would like to have legs and master the ability to walk; she is always searching for knowledge. Through her I met my Sleeping Beauty; a princess oblivious enough to go to Clear Water Beach –near Tampa, Florida in the Gulf Coast– the day Hurricane Katrina almost wiped New Orleans from the map! She can literally sleep through disaster and faces life like she just woke up: rested and refreshed.
Through Sleeping Beauty I met my last two princesses; the first was her cousin, my Bella the beauty who married the Beast. The only problem is that her beast didn’t become a prince, but she found a way to cast another spell and set herself free to enjoy new horizons. The second princess was her friend from college and my Mulan, the rebel and feminist. She wants to change the world’s paradigms and runs against any pre-set models. She is a fighter and my hero of a technological era which she dominates.
These are the jewels that I keep close to my heart regardless of distance. We all live in cities and continents far away, but every time I get together with one or more of them it feels like time never passed… I mean, figuratively. There are a lot of things we don’t do any more.
We don’t drink and dance on a high bar of a club on 4 inch pumps with the peril of breaking our necks if we fall, or go out more than one night in a row because of the fear of the three-day hangover.
The interesting thing among my friends is that we were never the cliché BFFs. We all hung out with different groups and could always get along. They were my accomplices in many adventures and have been spectators of my life’s play. They have seen my broken heart, my glow of sheer happiness when I married and I had my son, my battle with unwanted people from the past, and they encouraged me to keep writing these stories because they know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. They are my princesses and I can only hope to be the narrator of their happy endings. That’s the lesson we teach each other when we are together or through Whatsapp; how to be more than BFFs.
Thanks for reading and sharing.