Cameron snickered into her cereal.
“Really?” Emma asked, eyebrows raised. “New boyfriend? Daddy’s only been gone a week.”
“BF is boyfriend?” I asked. “What’s the friend one again?”
“BFF. Best friends forever.”
“Oh, that’s right.” It’s that forever part that loses me every time.
I met my new friend at a large restaurant table. She and her sister, along with another couple, met us for dinner through mutual friends. I was seated in the middle of a long rectangle table, and tried to participate on both sides of the action. I soon ditched the action on my left for the humor and sarcasm I was enjoying from the woman my age on the right.
“You guys should come over for dinner soon,” I said to her as we were leaving. My husband pointed it out, because apparently I rarely say such things. I had told a story at the restaurant that involved an aging musician wearing too small trousers, in what appeared to be an attempt to enhance his, ahem…manhood. The next day she texted a funny picture of said musician. I recommended an interesting book of short stories I recently read; it was on her list of reserves at the library! After my husband left town for a month long trip, we texted daily – pen pals in the digital age. And when she suggested a really good movie to rent, and it was a subtitled-child dies of cancer-mother commits suicide kind of film…well, I knew she was my kind of friend.
Several years ago I had a close friend break up with me. Because we had many common interests and I enjoyed her company so much, I had assumed we would always be friends. Although I understood the reasons behind the breakup, it was complicated and it was painful. I trained myself to not reach out to her with good news or a funny story or a great book. We were no longer friends but we certainly weren’t enemies. We still run into each other and I wish the best for her and her family. But it stung, and I missed her – I still do.
I moved on and spent time with other friends, or more often, with my husband and daughters. Hours alone at a computer plunged into my writing became common. My husband has always been my closest friend anyway but he traveled more and more for work. I was very productive with my writing. I finished my novel and a screenplay but I missed much needed advice about eyebrow waxing. I wasn’t looking for a BFF, because really, don’t you have to be a child to even believe that’s possible?
Do you have a last name? I asked my new friend via text several weeks into meeting. How could I not know her last name – when I know the details of her mother’s long phone messages about not getting her a gift for mother’s day? Or that her daughter asked her to make an appointment with a gynecologist so she could get an IUD?
I’m like Madonna. Or Bono. No last name necessary, she replied.
Or like Hitler, I answered.
I giggled into the screen; we constantly crack each other up. She lives forty miles away, just far enough that it requires planning to get together, which we occasionally do. So we text: I can’t come over for lunch today, my loin fruit needs a ride to work; Did you hear about the Supreme Court ruling? Feeling weepy; Why doesn’t anyone warn you that grey pubic hairs exist?
Would we have become friends in a different age? Twenty years ago would we have chatted on the phone daily, cords running through the kitchen, kids running underfoot? Is it possible that we would have written letters a generation ago, laughing out loud as we read the pages? The ability to have deep connections with people, even on the other side of the planet, through technology that was unfathomable when I was a child, is staggering. Perhaps because of it I have a new friend.
And maybe my breakup has scarred me, but I can’t help but think the whole notion of BFF is flawed. I mean, come on – forever? Isn’t that a set up for disappointment? The older I get, the more grateful I am just for the day in front of me. A day filled with driving my daughters to their activities; a long walk with my husband and dog; writing and figuring out what to make for diner. And now also laughing at joke my friend sent or reading a link to an author interview that she found interesting.
So I told my daughters, “ I think I have a new BFFT.” Before waiting for them to ask, I say, “Best friend for today.” And that feels like more than enough.
About Molly: Molly Krause was born and raised in Kansas, graduating from The University of Kansas with a degree in Social Welfare. Her debut novel, ‘Joy Again’, is scheduled for publication by Bedazzled Ink in April 2016. She co-authored ‘The Flavorful Kitchen Cookbook’ and her essays have appeared in Ragazine, Manifest-Station, and Brain, Child. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her husband and two teenage daughters. You can find her on her site and on Twitter!