My entire first year in America was generally sad.I was a complete outsider because I had just moved to the US from the Middle East.
I had a weird name, crazy hair, bushy eyebrows and a jacket just for members who was three sizes too big for me.(I know, I know :-))
To insult the injury, I had come to my new classmates at the time my compatriots had taken a hundred of their compatriots hostage in an Iranian embassy.
I tried to mix and make friends, but they kept me at a distance.I remember most of the way they looked at me (as if I had been an experiment) and how they reacted to me (as if I were speaking a different language). It wasn’t the end of the world but it was fair to say that I needed help to work my way into a system that wasn’t too happy with me.
Help has arrived.Her name was M and she was a senior. It was different from the others. She wasn’t afraid of me. She was interested in me, talked to me and made me feel welcome. She had a friendly, open, pure and compassionate nature. She even introduced me to some of her friends, other seniors, which only helped my credibility a little bit. We never got so close to hanging out together, but I definitely saw them as a kind of guardian angel.
Having M on my side gave me the confidence to integrate, which I eventually did.
At the end of the school year she graduated and went to college, and unfortunately we lost touch.
Addendum: When I started on Facebook three decades later, it seemed inevitable that I should try to visit them.I found someone I thought could be M. I wrote her a message. Unfortunately, she did not respond …
… up to four years later!Somehow my message had landed in her spam/mystery FB inbox and she had just discovered it. We were both overjoyed that we had reconnected after all this time.
She still lived in America and decided to visit me in the UK.She booked a flight.
My friend asked me some reasonable questions:
‘Are you crazy?’
“You invited someone you only knew for five minutes, at the age of 13, to stay with us for two weeks?”
“What if it has changed?What if you both can’t get along? What if she voted for Trump? ” (The last bit is a joke 🙂
I told him that I understand his skepticism, but that I only know that she is the same person I remember.I said I trust my belly and he has to trust him. I felt that the universe had given me the opportunity to thank her appropriately, and I would not miss the opportunity.
So she came.
We clicked from the moment we saw each other.We spent the following weeks talking, laughing, shopping, remembering, cooking and catching up with nearly forty years of adult life. She spent a lot of time with my son and introduced him to Percy Jackson, who is now my son’s new favorite character in a fictional book. She cooked us her pulled pork recipe, which is my friend’s favorite recipe and why he just wanted to marry her a little bit.
Their core had not changed.She was still the same kind and compassionate person. I loved her, my son loved her and my partner loved her. We were sad denying saying goodbye to her when she left our house.
M and I feel blessed to have a second chance at a close, meaningful friendship.She is now officially my oldest friend!