I heard from Tori, an old friend of mine, the other day. She was cleaning out her childhood bedroom and stumbled upon a note I had written to her. After all these years, it was still expertly folded. She and I spent a good chunk of junior high perfecting our signature note origami. I liked my correspondence to look like a miniature envelope, while Tori preferred the time-honored football fold.
In case you have not had the opportunity to revisit your 13-year-old self this Valentine’s Day, here are some of my takeaways:
- My handwriting was much better back then.
- My judgment, confidence, time-management, punctuation, and taste in men are all better now.
In the page-long overwrought letter, I blather on about the classic two-guy conundrum: Which fellow would be best for me? I bemoan that Boy #1 is “the only boy I know, who I can really open up to…I’ve told him things that I never told anyone before.” But Boy #2 is “gorgeous” and “popular.” At age 13, I had clearly mastered the plotline of even the most forgettable Rom Com. That Tori did not immediately set this note on fire is a testament both to our junior high school’s anti-smoking crusade AND to the fact that she was a pretty terrific friend. One of my best, in fact. Though you would never have known it from the way I spent so much time trailing around after boys and ignoring her wise counsel.
So, I know you are breathless with anticipation. In the end, who did I choose? The good guy? The hottie? Spoiler alert: Neither. The relationship that lasted was the one with my gal friend, Tori. Though we are separated by time and miles, she is the one who now leaves me breathless. She has traveled extensively, negotiated with foreign dignitaries, and hiked mountain ranges from China to Appalachia. When I see her Facebook updates, I am besotted with the gorgeous photographs of archways and sunsets. Her zest for life makes me want to be more adventurous and outdoorsy. If we lived any less than sixteen states apart, I would meet her more regularly for coffee just to listen to her talk.
It is tempting on Valentine’s Day to be obvious. By all means, celebrate today with flowers and chocolate – Lord knows I have never said no to either. But especially if you are a person who feels a little blue on this day of pinks and reds, I urge you to look up an old friend. Fall back in love with someone who taught you about love along the way. As I was writing this, I thought of more than a dozen other girlfriends with whom I have shared my heart – Stephanie, Rebecca, Michelle, Emily, Christine, Maggie, Beena, Meg, Jenny, Jen, Kim, Irem, Sarah, Abbie, Colleen, Terri, Jessica, Shannon, Sam… and I could go on and on.* All of these fine creatures taught me more about love than Boy 1 or Boy 2 ever did. Ladies: I thank you from the bottom, top, and middle of my nonsensical, note-writing, frequently misguided heart. Everyone: don’t ever underestimate the power of a Galentine to make you feel young, breathless, and 13 again.
*Annette, Melanie, Beth, Tonya, Becky, Gale, Bridget, Christy, Sue, Caroline, Allison, Kelly, Michal, Yasmine, Alana, Jennifer, Debbie, Chantel, Eugénie, Kris, Maria, Erin, Kristy, Angie, Chris, Eraina, Lisa, Angie, Lara, Kim, Ashley, Toni, Leah, Wendy, Breezy, Phet, Melissa, Kelly, Sara, Tracey, Heather, Esosa, Micah, Emily…and I could go on and on. Thank you to all my Galentines. Both listed here and held in the silence of my heart. We are all of us so very blessed.