For a time, it was like a second "CHS Black Knight Class of 1989 Reunion" at the hospital. I had known my old friend Kelly was dealing with her dad's recent lung cancer surgery, but I had no idea he was back in the hospital with some complications. Imagine my surprise when her mom Doris walked in to say "hello" to me in the NICU. Perpetually sunny, and like a second mom, I had not seen her in person in 20 years probably, well, except for a minute at the Amtrak station restaurant in C-ville when we were visiting from Montana. (Sorry, with me you get all the details right?)
I had met Kelly in 9th grade but we got close in 10th. Somehow, around that time we ended up as managers for the boys lacrosse team and would spend afternoons handing out equipment, water bottles, and drooling over the two players we had crushes on (~Rob!~Paul!~*sigh*). I gotta say, lacrosse players have, and will always have, the best legs. I even got lacrosse sticks on my class ring, something I so regret. Mainly because the lacrosse team meant so little in the big picture, and I barely even said "hi" to this guy.
We were super close, but like all teenage girl friendships, which can border on obsessive if one of you has no boyfriend and low self-esteem (me!), it had its share of drama. We went off to Virginia Tech and drifted apart, she got through and graduated on time, I was a metalhead-smoker who flunked out after the first year.
When we finally reconnected, we had a mini-reunion in Lynchburg with 2 other ladies you'll eventually meet, Michele and Laura. It was hysterical because one of the things we talked about the most, which we never knew about each other, was our love of the 80s era UVA basketball team. Guys are always completely shocked, but we know all the names (Lee Raker, Jeff Lamp, Jimmy Miller, Ralph Sampson, you get the picture). It was a cute team.
What's important about seeing Kelly is that I had effectively ended the friendship in a rather rude way, and she forgave me for it without hesitation. She didn't care. We were friends again after all this time and it was a huge relief. I had been carrying it with me and it was heavy. She was over it a long time ago. She's engaged, loves her job marketing for Goodwill across the region, has a great son and step-son. I'm so glad she's happy.
So anyway, practically the whole family came to see me. Kelly, her awesome son Andrew (really, Kelly obviously is a great mom, I love him!), her big brother Bryan, who I used to spend time with after I flunked out of Tech. He reminded me: "Remember when we used to go running? Around the CHS track?". I didn't really -- why the heck did we do that, I was a smoker! We saw movies back then and talked about music. It was great to see Bryan again, he's a steady guy and just how I remember. He also showed me a cool app on his iPhone (iTouch?) where you can mess with people's faces by swiping the screen.
Kel's mom visited me a few times and what really touched me was when she came down with her husband, Merle. Here was a man, in the hospital for his own health problems, who actually took the time and effort to come see me. It was so nice to experience that. He couldn't stay long but the fact that I got to see him I will always remember. Doris later made a comment about our shared sense of fashion -- the hospital gown. So flattering those things are.
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