It was my first real slumber party. Popular girls would be there, so I shaved my legs. I got out of the shower and saw I’d missed shaving an entire line of hair along my shin.
“You’re such a baby,” I said and razored off the offensive line of yellow fuzz along with much of my shin.
“Dummy,” I said, and doused it with white ointment and bandaids, dried off, put on my flair-bottomed jeans, and feathered my hair with a blowdryer. It was my first real slumber party.
Nine days ago, we were in Colorado. A late Christmas with most of my family. We missed the ones that weren’t there, played games with the ones that were, and spent time in the mountains with snow that sparkles under the sun and crunches underfoot.
“It’s a dry cold,” is an expression my husband’s learned is not only funny because I’ve been saying it for ten years, but true.
While there, I didn’t see many friends, but I saw three. “What is it about friendship?” I asked.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, why is it so much easier here?”
“I don’t know,” my husband said.
I thought about friendship here and in Colorado.
Two friends there are old roommates, lifemates, back when secrets were rare and wondering about protocol was usually given the finger. Or, maybe, that’s hindsight blurring the edges of awkwardness or years smoothing the rough parts of the stones that lie at the roots of our entangled branches.
The other friend I saw there, I met through blogging.
The night of my first real slumber party, we all changed into our PJ’s and my bandaids were visible.
“What happened?” they asked. I was too embarrassed to say I’d done it shaving (because novice) so made up an unbelievable story about sliding down cement steps, scraping my shin.
They asked to see, and one of the popular girls said it looked fake, with all the pinkness of it, my blood mixed with the white cream sliding around my leg.
It did look fake. I wiped some of it off, assuring her it was real, wishing I’d brought PJ pants to sleep in instead. Did I want them to see it?
Would seeing my wound make ME seen?
A girl named Andrea, who was between the middle-popular, geeky shy crowd that I was in and the popular ones asked what happened.
I told her I’d cut myself shaving, and she believed me. “Why would you do that to yourself?” she asked.
I didn’t have an answer and it was time for the real test. Which of us would break the slumber party girl’s mom’s rules and go outside? Which would stay?
I said I’d go, but I stayed. They were going next door to throw stuff into the boy who lived there’s window well.
For years, I wondered how high school and junior high would have been different had I gone.
I knew enough to not fall asleep first though, and pinched myself in my sleeping bag until I heard two other girls snoring.
When I can’t sleep, I think about friendships, and how and why they change. Or, at least, how and why they’ve changed over the years for me. I wonder about finding it easy in some groups, and excruciating in others.
I remember a night when I felt the electricity from every body at the party.
Laughter lept from spilled plates and bounced around the room echoing and igniting each of us.
It was one of the best parties.
I remember a night where some of us stood on a porch in awe of the endless stars above. It’s like we were one, and knew that then was all and nothing and that being there was everything.
Sometimes, I still feel that when I go outside in the dark.
What is it about people that draw us to one another? Is it a shared history, like the one I have with two sisters in Colorado? That we’ve been on both coasts together, in the middle together? In other countries together?
Or, would we still be as close if we’d never left home, having grown up differently than we did, but having simply shared ourselves?
When it comes to my writer friend in Colorado and those everywhere else. Is it that we know each other more deeply than playground chat allows? Is writer friendship based on the fact that we share things about ourselves online or in print that we’d never share at a bus stop?
Or is it that in life, we have littermates, mixed in bloodlines or stardust?
Whatever it is, why is it so damn hard to duplicate at the playground and at the bus stop?
Is it just me?
Most people who have an only child in second grade aren’t going to celebrate a 50th birthday in a couple of years.
Most of the moms at the bus have known one another since preschool, when my son was riding the short bus.
Maybe, it’s me.
Maybe, it’s something else.
These are the things I wonder when I cannot sleep.
Do you know? Wonder?
Do you find friendship easier online than in person?
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “When I can’t sleep, I…”
Link up here, at Finding Ninee.