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In Sweet Company

“ God makes a way out of no way.” — Sister Helen Prejean,  IN SWEET COMPANY: CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN ABOUT LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE

When I was about 15 my friends Carol and Becky and I went to a Big Boy Drive-in one warm summer evening fully pretending Becky was a foreign exchange student from Denmark or Norway or Sweden and I was her summer host and translator. We were coming of age, full of mischief and bravado. Having done all Detroit had to offer for Northwest girls, we were bored out of our minds. We wanted to have fun, to exercise our creativity and our prowess, so we pushed the edge of our envelopes with this rather imaginative daring do. When a car full of boys pulled up next to us in the drive in, I fed them our story. Becky pretended to ask me questions in Danish or Norwegian or Swedish, and I pretended to answer her. The boys believed us. We had pulled it off. At some point, she and I danced on top of Carol’s car, no doubt to some Motown medley designed for a Detroit summer evening. We were beside ourselves with joy.

Though I know I saw Becky after that, this was the last times I remember actually spending time with her. She went off to private school, then to college in Missouri; I went to college in Michigan and eventually moved to California. We lost touch.

A month or so ago, completely out of the blue, I got an email from Becky. She had read something I wrote, even visited this blog a number of times not knowing it was me. To our surprise and delight we have discovered we have a lot in common. This pleases us both immensely.

My teen years are not a time in my life I recall with much fondness. I was small, a year ahead of myself in school, growing up middle class in an upper class neighborhood, always trying to catch up and fit in. Becky had a difficult go of it then, too. But you never know what’s out there waiting for you. Decades pass, lives are lived in separation, and when you least expect it, they intersect again in meaningful ways that shapeshift and shed light on the past and the present. Becky says she remembers me as fun and sweet. I remember her as beautiful and smart and Danish or Norwegian or Swedish. Despite what we were or what thought we were, despite the unaccounted for years, as it was then, it is now: we are both still dancing. This means a lot to both of us.

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