There was this little town, in the middle of nowhere important I grew up in. Children played with children across the street, our worlds imagined on bicycles, up trees, burning to a crisp beside the neighbours pool, dreaming of David Cassidy and banksia petal confetti. The world was far away, our world was close. Parents were figures. Our small dreams were limited to music, the drive-in on a Friday night and the perfect man who would build us a home and bring chocolate on the weekend.
The town was too small to stay and we scattered into life. Trés jolie la la la and in this Silver Street time, when life did or did not turn out the way we planned, we somehow find each other again.
Tonight in a slightly bigger town, a reunion took place. Quite by accident, fateful none the less. Forty years have passed and the lives of the little us became a story of each relating the patterns and paths walked. Call it interesting – call it educational but for the most part, call it little girls found in the knowledge that through chance, through change, the bond still exists.
So, times the banksia confetti chocolate bearing person happened. Times the person left, is still bearing gifts of love and for all the lines and elastic waists, whipping of offspring pictures and loss of parents, siblings, children and youth, the stories are what remain. And the stories of each was for me, spell bounding.
I thought they were alright. Life is kind so it was ok to forget about you. Like you forgot about me. We were fine. That word again. Fine. It was at times painful, paralysing, re-directing, coping, moving on. And the most important lesson tonight, it really is fine. We have survived loss, birth, countries and relationships. We have re-invented ourselves, fought the gods, cried at the furies, messed with the ambition and never gave up. Humbled I was, humbled and the last time I felt like this, I remember us on the street corner, playing hooky in the dark, diving under water and lying beneath the stars, nestled in our own dreams in a small town. I was humbled because I was still waiting for life to claim me.
Know what, we did good, we failed hopelessly and stood up again. Orphaned, abandoned and created lives that were not only interesting but way beyond what we had ever imagined. Time has not withered us, love has touched us all and in this re-connection we could only smile and remember that these little girls, by accident have found each other again. Do we reach out for our people who danced in tutu’s with us, ran races beside us, who twirled with us in our pyjamas and wrote love songs so that we know, as life turns and twists we are still part of a tribe? Do we reach for so far ago, each of us, to begin again together with the knowledge that someone remembered our innocence?
They knew my mother. My father. My single bed, my textbooks, they knew my first kiss. Encouraged our first slow dance to The Moody Blues? Does that make me feel safer now that I am the older, the wiser, the mother of my own and the far away, so far away from where it all began? Is that why we do not need to catch up but to carry on? The short of histories and the long of let’s just walk together again?
Is it that no matter what, these friends remind me of the clean slate, back in that little town? The slate of what little poppets with the long legs and plaits on the brink could be again? That I think is what makes me sit here, write and think about. We can begin again, or continue to be because we know we are all worthy of having had a carefree childhood, sometimes forgotten but never far away. I smile as I sit here because I know that no matter how my life turned out, turns out, my friends remember me back then – we go that far back to to support each other that far hence.
I smile because when I forgot who I was, which I do when circumstances force me to change, these extraordinary women wait in the wings and when I need them, step forward.
I am one of the lucky ones to have friends who remember me in hot pants.
Image etsy, where and wear