Welcome back to HerStories: Tales of Friendship. If you missed the introduction to this new series on women’s friendship, check out the page here!
We are continuing our first week of the series with another fantastic essay, this time from Elura Nanos. Have you ever been “forced” into a friendship by your parents? Did it work out differently than you might have thought? Read this beautiful story of childhood friendship and its evolution.
A Friendship Story: Marissa
“Daddy can pick her up on the way to band practice and then her mom will drive you both home afterward,” my mom chirped.
I was twelve and I was not happy.
My mother had unilaterally decided that the daughter of some friend of hers who was “around my age” could take the half-hour ride to band practice with my dad and me every Saturday morning. Not only was this girl an entire grade younger than I was, but she was also guaranteed to destroy what had heretofore been blissful Saturday morning rides with my dad, spent eating Egg McMuffins and singing along with the radio.
I huffed as I rang her doorbell. But when Marissa came to the door, we stood, looking at one another, mouths agape. We were dressed in the same not-too-tight-because-our-mothers-forbade-it stretch jeans, the same cornball graphic sweatshirt, and the same white Keds stuffed perfectly with scrunchy socks. And when I say “the same” – I mean the same. We were even carrying the same black leather fringed pocketbook on one shoulder, with our matching flute cases slung over the other shoulder.
In that moment, we knew that there was something interesting going on with us.
By the time her mom brought me home that afternoon, Riss and I were old friends. Seven years later, we’d shared countless moments, memories, and milestones with one another. We’d cried to one another when our parents had driven us to it. We’d learned to love, hate, and then love boys again with each other’s guidance. We learned to drive (her, well; me, badly), to sing (her, well; me, badly) and to get our mothers to extend curfews. We’d enter and exit each other’s homes without so much as a knock. We’d crossed that invisible threshold from being friends to being part of one another.
Trouble began when college started. Each of us had been dealt a couple of tough blows. Divorce. Financial ruin. Difficult breakups. Difficult new relationships. Personal drama. Personal trauma. We leaned on each other as much as we could, but there came a point that too much strain and too little time together resulted in a serious distance between us. Ill-prepared to deal with having to work at a relationship that once was as natural as breathing, we each retreated.
I finished college, dated, and became a lawyer. I got my first apartment and lived my life. But I did so with an internal limp. I had plenty of friends, but none ever approached filling the void that Marissa had left. In truth, I found comfort in that void. So long as it was there, I was reminded of what I’d always known – that our friendship had been so special that it had no equal.
And that’s how I lived for many years, vacillating between bitterness and plain old sadness. Eventually, I was able to do the stages-of-grief thing and get past my loss. I had a happy marriage, wonderful children, a rewarding career, and even a best friend with whom I’d created an entirely new story. But there was always the ghost of my friendship with She Who Saw Me Grow Up. I’d think of her often. I’d always light a candle for her when I found myself in a church. I’d offer up silent and sincere good wishes for her health, safety, and happiness. I’d cry at my teenage memories. And I’d wonder – really wonder how it was possible for her to never have looked back for me. Marissa was utterly un-Googleable, and for seventeen years, I hadn’t heard a whisper about her from anyone.
And then, the unthinkable happened. On a sunny day last May, she found me.
We talked, we cried, and we made plans to see each other. As it turned out, we lived in the same state, only about an hour apart. We had children the same age and had gotten married during the same year. And when she came to the door of her beautiful grown-up home, she opened her arms up wide, and then introduced me to her three-year-old daughter – who was dressed, head to toe, in the same outfit that my own three-year-old daughter was wearing.
Elura Nanos is the owner of Lawyer Up, a unique company that helps law students kick ass in law school, and helps everyone else understand what exactly the law means. She’s the author of three books, including “How To Talk To Your Lawyer” and the “Why Don’t They Just Say That?: From Legalese to English” series. Most recently, Elura has brought her signature sass and style to the small screen, starring in the reality television series, “Staten Island Law” on the Oprah Winfrey Network (“OWN”). Elura lives with her very patient husband and two snuggly kids in New Jersey. In addition to being a lawyer and entrepreneur, Elura is a piccolo-playing lover of audiobooks, Mozart, and movies about prison, and a hater of crawling plants, war documentaries and raisins.
*In case you missed yesterday’s post on Jessica’s page, here is another wonderful essay, this time from Emily Tedeschi, who asserts that a true friend is one who completely accepts and understands your quirks, and is willing to be present during the challenging moments. Do you have a work friend? Have you ever supported a friend through a tragedy or natural disaster? This essay incorporates the theme of work friendships, and also touches on coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. It is funny, relatable, and encapsulates the meaning of true friendship. Go check it out here- From Natural Disaster to the Mall: A Tale of Working Friendship
*Do you have a friendship essay you would like to submit to HerStories? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will ask for a 500-1000 word essay and a 2-3 sentence bio.