Many of my best friends are born in November, so today I’m saying thank you for my friends...
I’d just arrived in Trinidad, just off the boat, so to speak... from Guyana. I was 14 and had longed for this move. It came, as all good things do, with a list, short as it was, of cons which became uncomfortably clear after my first few days in my new high school.
For starters, my pants... my long school pants were apparently too short, revealing way too much sock around the ankles. Michael Jackson had made the thing popular a few years back, but I guess the fad had passed without my knowledge. One of my classmates (who will remain nameless) would often ask, with too much glee in his eyes, if I was expecting a flood. And even though I hadn’t realized it, my years in Guyana had left me with a bit of a Guyanese accent which on one or two occasions seemed to offend the ears of my new Trinidadian compadres. But these were minor things, overall I was happy... happy to be here in sweet T&T.
It was into this new and exciting life she strode, smiling that bright, easy smile... a smile like spring. Of course back then I didn’t know what spring really was, but that generous spectacle of warmth and color that arrives after a season of bitter cold describes her perfectly. Months had passed since our first introduction, but that was just a precursor to this moment... this moment that would bond two teenagers forever. It’s interesting how simple moments can blossom into lifelong memories.
We were hanging out, a group of us, one Saturday night, “liming” as we Caribbean folk like to say. Someone was relating a personal story, I don’t remember what it was now, but I do remember I was standing on the outskirts of the group, listening. When the story came to its conclusion, I nonchalantly said, under my breath, something along the lines of, “well, you win some and you loose some...”
The words weren’t meant for anyone’s ears, it was just my natural response to the story I’d just heard. The phrase expressed my attitude towards life in general. But as it turned out, I wasn’t alone on the outskirts of that group, she was standing right next to me. She turned and looked at me with recognition in her eyes. I still remember that look after all these years... that look of one soul recognizing another soul... a kindred soul.
That was over 20 years ago, and we’re still the best of friends. I’m so thankful for my friends.