This is why, over the last couple years, I had decided it was alright that I had fallen out of touch with my closest childhood friend. Yes, we had taken different paths in a number of ways, and changed. She has become a great believer in and advocate of twelve-step programs and a mother of three, while I have a bohemian lifestyle of lesbian partnership, rejection of traditional work and religion and too many cats. But I came to feel that, as it seemed I would never be able to view my childhood calmly, from a distance, much less with affection, it was for the best that I detach from childhood friendships that remind me of it.
For a while, it seemed to work. I felt guilty about the ebbing of the friendship, but relieved to be able to blank out on memories that fed my angst. I tried to tell myself that this was a natural evolution and the way of the world.
But when I checked my voicemail and found a message from her while I was in the hospital, I was excited.
The truth is, I missed her. Not only was she my friend, but my stepsister. We shared a checkered and difficult past within our dysfunctional family, different in some ways but, in many, similar. And as many awful, disturbing memories and feelings we may share, we were also always there for each other from our single-digit years through our early twenties. Even though we have changed, we still know each other's cores better than perhaps anyone else, save our partners.
So, despite knowing it would dredge up old wounds, I called her back. We've been in contact many times over the last few weeks, and have shared some biographical writing we've both been working on. It has been difficult facing some issues, and I can't say it's been easy. I'm also not completely confident in the return of our relationship, yet. But I'm so glad to hear her voice on the phone, and I'm hoping that, together, we can put together the stories of our past and learn to be a little bit kinder to ourselves.