My Golden Girl

Let me tell you a story…Etobicoke. 1993. Picture it. Two young girls, best friends, who share three things in common; 90s dance music, a love of proper grammar and triple-layer cake!

I am so proud of my friend. She is one of my best friends, was my maid of honour and my strong, silent partner in college crime. We have been friends for 20 years and I love her.

Newsroom2
N and I working away in the newsroom
Newsroom1
N and I working away in the newsroom
Newsroom4
Always ready for a candid shot!

N is a little closer to the other side of that hill than I am (only by six months). And yes, that is a factor we speak of often. We spoke yesterday about her recent 22 pound weight loss, the incredible meal plan she is on and the amazing workout routine regime she is following. Something she is doing for herself and she looks great!

She has always been my health and fitness motivator, counsellor and expert. She has the ability to turn into a mean machine, set her mind on an end result and charge full steam ahead to reach it.

I know she doesn’t think so, but I can honestly say that she’s an inspiration. At six feet tall, she has a hard time blending in, but she tries sometimes. Confident but cautious, intense but shy, devoted and dedicated, she is my Golden Girl-friend!

And she’s also very brave!

At 28 years old, she decided she was going to accept a volleyball scholarship to the U.S. and get her BA in English. She was alone, older (in some cases, by almost a decade) than all those kids and living in residence. I would have never been able to do that.

We had a weekly Sunday call where we would catch up, share stories and laugh. And oh, how we can laugh together!

Since the dawn of our friendship, we could chat about anything. We even have a knack of talking without actually saying the words we need to, yet are able to understand each other. We always had a hard time hanging up on those weekly calls, as there was one more story to share, or one more laugh to have.

We have busted a move on many a dance floor, and probably one of my favourite memories ever had to be a Halloween, probably around circa 1995. We dressed up as a hippy (me) and Pebbles (her) and made our way downtown, on a Thursday night, to a little club.

Upon entering, I bumped into Jimmy, a guy friend of mine who made the comment, “I didn’t know you like coming here?” To which I replied, “Sure, it’s a great club.” I came to realize the real meaning of that question later on.

So we danced, and we drank had fun and it wasn’t until some point half way through the night that we realized we were in the middle of the dance floor, clapping our hands (because for some reason, EVERYONE was clapping their hands to ALL the songs) and swaying to the music, when we both stopped and looked around. I mean, really looked around.

There were an awful lot of Greek Gods and Godesses…

And there was an awful lot of clapping going on…

But there wasn’t a lot of singing on our part…

Because the music wasn’t even in English!?!

N and I were standing in the middle of the dance floor, at a Greek-night Halloween party.

OPA!

Don’t get me wrong, we were having fun, but once that realization happened, it dawned on us that they hadn’t played a single English song all night.

So that’s what Jimmy meant when he said, “I didn’t know you liked coming here….” What he didn’t say was “…on Greek night!”

With our hands sore from the continuous clapping, we decided to get a drink. We sat out a few songs, which turned into a few more and finally said, “If the next song isn’t Michael Jackson’s Thriller, we’re outta here!” It was Halloween after all. Some cheesy songs are a requirement.

Well, sure enough, the next song was Thriller! And we found ourselves back on the dance floor. The clapping still continued, and more fun was had.

This is the type of situation we often found ourselves in. We didn’t quite belong, but we managed to always make the best of it.

From our early years as Journalism students at Humber College where we would hang out in the Athletics department, as N and her athlete friends played jokes on each other and liked to refer me (the one without an athletic bone in my body) as Lois Lane.  We went clubbing, hung out with various crowds and danced to all kinds of music.

Athletic Banquet
At an Athletic Banquet, 1995
Graduation
Graduation, 1996

 In our twenties, we tried to make a mark on the world, and found ourselves working together again in a 24 hour call centre. We lived at home with our parents, had no cell phones and lived on opposite ends of the city.  We survived bad boyfriends, crazy friends, insane coworkers, hangovers, do-overs, and more, and lived to tell about it.

And in our early thirties, she braved school all over again, as I found myself in a job I hated. We were in different parts of the world, our lives were changing, but we remained solid. She wasn’t physically here when I met D, but she knew he was different. He was the one. And when she came back, I don’t think she was surprised when I asked her to be my maid of honour.

She has been there for all the trials and tribulations of my adult life and for that I am so grateful.

So here we are, closing in on 40. Our lives really are in totally different places now. That means that our priorities shift to accommodate the lives we live, but we try to make time to connect. I will be the first to admit that I should try harder, but it’s easier said than done. We can text and email and call, but I don’t see her as often as I want.

No matter what, I still consider her a huge part of my life. I know if I need her, I can call her, anytime, about anything. I hope, I think, she knows that same.

In her speech at my wedding, she referred to the Golden Girls, specifically Sophia’s catchphrase Picture it… It is a reference that always makes me smile. As does all the self-portraits we mastered taking.

Thank you for being a friend. Travelled down the road and back again. Your heart is true; you’re a pal and a confidant.

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