Sunday, August 09, 2009

Friends and Red Toenail Polish

My toenails received extra care. Red was the color to wear.

In the weeks leading up to the high school reunion that happened this weekend, I was able to reconnect through FB with a bunch of my high school friends and acquaintances. We started a side loop to begin to plan a girls’ weekend following the reunion. All were welcome. Stories started to surface. At first we kept it to what we we’ve been up to these past years—the careers, the kids, the memories.

Then it got real.

One was in an abusive and dangerous situation. Several of us worked together to get her to a safe place. Another was struggling with depression. We encouraged. The FB conversations began to include honest but fun humor, encouragement, and practical help. A different kind of connection was made with these ‘friends’ on this loop. We were not necessarily buddies in high school. Something new was beginning.

I could see we were going deep. We would do almost anything for each other. But maybe go about it more wisely than we would have those many years before.

Then like girls in high school again, we began chatting about what we would wear to the reunion. Maybe at one time we would have tried to figure out how to wear the best outfit, stand out above the rest. But not now. “Be comfortable.” “Sure, wear the jeans you love.” (This is a casual affair.) Then there was the humor from one of the girls about the extra events and extra outfits: “First day: wear it plain. Second day: Scarf in your hair, knee socks, bangles, large hoop earrings. Third day: Go back to first day but add a shawl, sandals, flower in your hair, cute flip flops.”

The red toenail polish? It was the chosen signal for this new solidarity and to help us find each other at the multi-year reunion. Something subtle but obvious enough to notice and then exchange the knowing smiles of rekindled or new friendship.

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