I met up with a childhood friend of mine today. As in, the oldest friend I have, I believe. We haven’t seen each other in eight years, give and take, and before that, we mostly met when we ran into each other at random stables where I would work and she would come to ride her horse.
When I say childhood, I mean childhood. We haven’t been best buddies since we were kids, and even then, there was always an element of competition between us that gave our relationship a strange edge.
In fact, I loosely based my twin characters in the Starstone Series, Cazal and Lien, on the two of us. No matter what, she always mattered a great deal to me.
I’m going to have to convince her to do a new picture of us one day…
Anyway, meeting her today was the strangest feeling. Her face looks just the same. She is exactly as I remember her, even if she has aged. Because sure, age has touched her face by now, and even if her smile and her eyes were the same, there was a maturity to her that I haven’t noticed before. That was a bit hard to reconcile with the image of this wild childhood friend of mine, who used to climb trees with me, play My Little Pony with me, and who eventually got me into the equestrian world and left me there to fight me own way out.
In my mind, she is never really changing. And because I never thought to let her grow up in my mind, I guess I never realized that she had, until today.
Truth is, we both have. Looking at her, I was seeing my own life reflected on her face. How we were no longer those two kids anymore. How we were no longer the teenagers who lived and breathed for the equestrian world. How none of the things we used to have in common really mattered in our lives anymore, and still, hearing her speak of her life, I knew that even if it is going to be another eight years before I see her again, I am never truly letting this one disappear from my life.
When we both lived in the equestrian world, we would meet up regularly, but she got out, years ago.
I found it harder to escape the world she introduced me to. Hell, I still have five horses, even if I have severed all ties to the equestrian world by now, having minimal contact with anyone who owns other horses. I signed out of all federations two years ago, and effectively turned my back on competition and everything that the equestrian environment represented.
I know, I do speak of it, as if “I got out” like it had been a war zone, or a serious addiction I have been trapped in, and finally learned to recover from.
So does she. I guess that is one thing we will always have in common, no matter how much we grow up. We survived the equestrian world. We got out.
And there was a life on the other side, that didn’t necessarily include each other, but it didn’t really have to rule each other out either. I guess that is something to think about.
Growing up, we were often mistaken by strangers, for being twins. I guess it never quite left me; thinking of her as the sister I didn’t have when I was a kid. The one I could fight with, laugh with, compete with, hate even, at times, and still… The one who always made me smile, whenever she smiled.
She still does. Even if we have nothing else in common now, and everything we have to look back on are slightly tainted memories, I guess we will always have our smiles.
I always knew that we would go the distance, if you can call it that, not seeing each other for so many years at the time. But ever since we were kids, there was a sibling- like bond between us, that I never feared would break, no matter how much time got between us.
Talking to her today, it felt like no time had passed at all. Only the small lines around her eyes when she smiled, told a different story, reminding me that we were no longer those girls in that picture. We don’t even look much alike anymore. But then again, to us, we never did. We were always horrifyingly different. I guess that is what tore us apart so many times.
I am not sure what kept bringing us back together eventually, except… Something always did.