Last night I watched a movie I haven't seen in years, Stand By Me, which is based on the novella, "The Body," by Stephen King. I saw this movie when it first came out in 1986 and I loved it, but watching it at this time in my life made a different impression. In 1986 I was only a year older than the characters in the film. In 2011 I have a child who is nearly the same age as the characters in the film. The film's message was lost on me at 13, but I think I get it now - 25 years later. It's about the relationships we have on the verge of leaving our childhood behind and how they'll forever define friendship for us. Richard Dreyfuss's character states at the end of the film: "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"
Just two days ago I spoke with my friend from that period in my life (the friend with whom I saw the movie) and although we only speak every few years, it is always as if little time has passed. She was my best friend after my family moved from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania and though we drifted apart in high school, we come together every few years to touch base, usually when something monumental has happened in our lives. I have other friends in my life, those I've made since leaving home at 18, friends made at various stages in my life, friends I see day-to-day, but it is this friendship formed at the age of 12 that has been sustained.
Our family is hoping for and planning a trip from Utah back to Michigan this summer with one of Sophie's friends (the friend has family near Michigan). Sophie and her friend are nearing 12 and I want for them this one adventure that I hope will create memories that will forever connect them. I don't think I ever would have done this pre-move from Utah, but I see these things differently now. What might have been seen as too difficult to coordinate now seems like a necessity and after watching Stand By Me, I see its need even more.
I also want to plan my own trip, with the women I was friends with at the age of 12. We've all expressed an interest in this, but I think we need to make it really happen. I want a chance to escape back to a time when we were all seemingly without worries, though I think bringing all our current issues along with us will cement us even more to one another. When you are 12 you cannot fathom ever becoming an adult, a mother, a spouse, a homeowner. You have no idea what those things entail and how they will change you, or how a part of you will forever stay the way it is when you were 12. When I was 12, life was just beginning to involve worries, fears and inhibitions that affected my future relationships. These women knew me when we thought anything was possible and now after some years of experience, I know that anything is possible.
I also know that, as stated in the film when the boys depart from their adventure and it is mentioned that 2 characters drifted away during the boys' youth, "It happens sometimes. Friends come in and out of our lives, like busboys in a restaurant." We are fortunate to have the friends we have right at this moment and we are fortunate to have friends from our past. Any friend, at any time, is a gift.