Part of my job training this fall is going to camp. By far, it was everyone’s favorite part of the training. Th site we stayed at for two nights is such a beautiful place, and we spend so much time working together in large and small groups that we get to know each other incredibly well, and in multiple capacities. I feel like I can rely on my coworkers not just as that, but friends as well–almost family.
My job family is almost as tight-knit as my summer camp family. Not a day goes by I don’t miss all the wonderful people my summer camp brought into my life, but I’m beyond thankful to be given this opportunity as well. Working so closely with so many special people, and getting to know so many new faces, all within the span of two short days at camp, makes my heart happy.
During camp I got to go canoeing with my best friend, who happens to have the same job as me. The two of us have just gotten through a really rough patch of being angry and upset with each other and basically ignoring each other all summer. The day before camp we were finally able to come to terms and apologize and listen to what the other had to say. I’m so happy to have her back in my life. And just like that, our crazy adventures continued as if they’d never stopped. We planned on kayaking all the way across the lake (it’s 200 feet deep! That was scary!) but about halfway across we saw a bridge on the side of the lake, with a current going underneath leading to a secluded portion of lake filled with lily pads. The two of us are crazy of course and decided to go under the bridge. It took us four tries but we finally managed to steer the kayak under the bridge. The current was strong and the water was loud, echoing around the underside of the bridge…but once we reached the other side, the water turned placid, the trees blocked the wind, and our kayak drifted peacefully across the water. We stayed there for a whole listening to the sounds of the water and the wind, letting ourselves float aimlessly, talking quietly or sometimes just sitting and staring.
Life is like that sometimes. I feel like that about my friend right now. We were both going across the lake with a purpose, and for whatever reason we’d separated ourselves from each other. But when we came back together it was like going under that bridge in the same kayak. We had to work together, and we had to want to go the same way, and we had to be willing to take that crazy jump and try again and again. Because we both were determined to get to the other side. We had to fight our way back into each other’s lives.
I’m so lucky to have someone in my life like this. She pushes me to do my best and asks me for advice, because she knows I know her well enough to help her when she needs it. There’s no one else I can go on spontaneous, daredevil adventures with, and there’s no one else I’d rather have at my side when I take those leaps. That’s why it felt so wrong when she stepped out of my life. Regardless of what happened between us in the past, I knew every day she was gone that I wanted and needed her with me in the present and into the future. And when she came back she told me the same thing. She wanted me in her life. It seemed right for her to have me in her life.
Some people are meant to come into your life, do their part, and leave. At first I thought she was one. She’d shown me so much about the world and helped me discover so much about myself in the process. She had my back during one of the hardest and loneliest times of my life so far. She was such a comfort and motivation, and it seemed almost too good to be true when she told me she was going to stay.
So when she left, it almost seemed right. It almost seemed like she’d fulfilled her role and I was to move on without her.
And I did move on, but I knew I didn’t want to be without her.
Truth be told, we used to be more than just friends. I used to call her my girlfriend, and we had the closest relationship I’ve ever had the privilege of being a part of. And as that was, we both came to a point where we knew it was not going to work out that way.
But part of me wasn’t ready to let go of that, and part of her wasn’t either. It took weeks of awkward interactions of us being “just friends” before we started getting angry. We’d never set boundaries, and when we couldn’t come to an agreement that would help to keep us in each others’ lives, we decided to stop trying.
For two months we didn’t speak or interact, and for two months I missed her every minute of every day. It took me a long time to realize that it wasn’t even the romantic relationship that I missed. I missed her as a person. I missed my friend.
Maybe the time we spent apart was what we both needed to realize that. Most romantic relationships don’t take this course, and more than once I’ve questioned why it is that I’m one of the lucky few who gets to keep someone who used to be my one and only and turn them into a solid part of my support system, even after all the bullshit. But I do know this: some people come into your life for a reason.
I think that’s all I need to say: She’s in my life for a reason. I am grateful every day for that. I won’t hesitate to say that I love her, even though it doesn’t mean quite the same thing that it did when we were dating. She has been, and hopefully will continue to be, one of my best and closest friends. And knowing that she was willing to fight to keep me around, to brave that crazy-ass bridge to get the reward on the other side, is one of the greatest compliments I’ll ever receive. Not everyone is willing to try so hard to keep me around.