NOTE: I was away, visiting faraway friends and family, last week. Due to an internet SNAFU, I was unable to post. Over the course of this week, I’ll be posting my “Missing Four” Love Is In Da Blog posts, as written, and resuming my typical posting schedule. As always, I hope you enjoy!
Today, Bee prompts us to talk about our best friends. I’m lucky enough to have had the same best friend since we were children. Her name is Eden, and she’s been my bestie for so long, there’s almost nothing in my life that she hasn’t touched. We first met when we were four, at a penny auction. I remember a small, dark-haired girl, and that we mostly just smiled at each other from the relative safety of our mothers’ sides.
It wasn’t until we were nine that we became best friends. We were in the same Brownies troop. We found much more inspiration in one another – in talking about Breyer‘s horses, which we both collected, and real ones, too. We weren’t yet connected in other ways, because we were in separate classes in school, and lived a few miles apart.
The following year, though, we were in the same fifth grade class – and that’s the year we became inseparable. It was a relationship charged with friction – we both lived lives that didn’t equip us to negotiate the conflicts that arose, and both of our parents held the other up as a goal to aspire to – which, of course, set us up to be rivals.
But it was worth it. She introduced me to Middle Earth, and, during a visit to her house, to her neighbor’s horse, Keko. She had a blue-eyed copper husky named Nina; my parents were determined not to have a dog until we could afford a bulldog, my father’s favorite breed. We drew horse pictures all year long – hundreds of pictures, maybe even thousands. When the weather was nice, and we were turned loose on the school grounds, we walked and talked and pretended we were horses, and made a hideout where a shrub had grown all around the trunk of a big old oak.
When summer came, we both spent our days at the local pool, Round Top. We had swim lessons in the morning, and there were craft classes and games to play – but, mostly, we hung out on the expansive sloping lawn. I had three siblings to get away from; siblings with whom there were already plenty of stresses. She and I set our towels out on the lawn together each day, and there we talked of hobbits and running away from home, stealing the horse, who would be transportation for us and our belongings – we were ten; we figured she could live on grass, and we didn’t consider winter.
When I look back on the things that most matter to me, the lifetime passions, she’s all wrapped up in them. It was Eden who introduced me to Star Trek, when we were in seventh grade. She wanted me to watch, or to read the James Blish novelizations, and I resisted until she wore me down with her insistence. I read “Spock’s Brain” (the definition of camp), and I was hooked. It only got better from there. She’s right there at the root of my lifelong and abiding passion for Vulcans.
Our running-away plans now included using an old Ford engine her father had to power a starship. We began designing humorous control panels for an imaginary Enterprise, and added graffiti boards where we’d write funny messages. From there, we expanded to shared fan fiction stories, which we passed back and forth throughout our high school days. Eventually, we had several stories going at once, so neither of us would have to wait for a story to play with.
Those stories, some of which she still has, were embarrassingly bad, but they’re where we both cut our writing teeth. From those humble beginnings sprang the roots of her story worlds, and my own. They’ve diverged, over the decades since, but they grew in common ground, and my Trueborn double series wouldn’t be what it is, without her.
It was Eden who introduced me to an array of music I might not have discovered without her. Men at Work, a-ha – and Paul Simon, whose music has now been inspiring me and enriching my life for nearly thirty years.
Once, during our late teens, I even inherited one of her old boyfriends!
We live a little over an hour from each other, now, and life has currently taken us in different directions. But we are like sisters (in actuality, I do see her as my spirit-sister, and I’m much closer to her than to my sister by birth). We get together when we can, and often enjoy hours of writing, chatting, and just being together -alone, or with our children, who look on each other as informal cousins.
A couple of years ago, during a long chat about our writing, while we sat in her car in the parking lot of a coffee shop where we’d spent the last few hours, she mentioned a new Star Trek show – Enterprise. I hadn’t seen it, and I was resistant to the idea. But what she said stuck, and, a few months later, I found the show on Netflix...
If you’ve read here a few times, you know how that turned out – that Enterprise, and particularly Trip and T’Pol, have become a passion. Um, to say the least… =)
I would be a different version of myself, without Eden. I can only hope I’ve offered something of similar value.
I love you, Sys! =)
Do you have a best friend? I’d love to hear your stories!
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