I recently found a dear old friend of mine on Facebook. One of those friends you are certain you’ll never see again. This got me thinking about old friends I’d loved to find again.
I’d love to find my childhood friend Lovelace, just to see the kind of woman she became and maybe to let her know how our brief friendship affected my life.
Lovelace lived two streets behind my house in a quaint bright yellow house with large brown iron gates; it stood at the edge of a street leading to the supermarket and the big outdoor market.
I’d go by her house several times a week running errands for my mom; and there she’d be, on her porch looking perpetually bored and slightly surly like she’d had it with the world. She seemed so mature I couldn’t muster up the courage to talk to her.
Months after my ninth birthday, I officially met Lovelace when I transferred to her school.
She was just liked I’d imagined her. She was contrary, older, adventurous, vivacious, and opinionated and with an unhealthy dose of scepticism.
Lovelace lived alone most of the time, her mother was a flight attendant and her father she said lived in Paris with his family. She said her mother had met him on a flight and she was an “accident”. Her uncle who lived next door would check on her occasionally.
I’d never met anyone like her before. Lovelace was the first person who told me my parents would eventually get divorced. She taught me about the birds and the bees – except she didn’t put it as delicately. She told me once that sex was a little like holding in your pee. I recruited few other friends and we became the Cult of Lovelace. We’d hang on to her every word. We were never bored around her, we’d spend hours at her house just talking – she seemed to know everything. She said religion created for weak and needy people, I told this to my mom and she banned me from going to her house.
I only ever saw her sad once, one afternoon she had us rush back from the library because her mother was coming home, except her mother wasn’t there. For a brief moment, she looked so sad and so small, almost like the child she was.
We remained friends even after I transferred to yet another school after our year together, a few months after my eleventh birthday, Lovelace left to go live with her father in Paris, we wrote each other a couple of times but that was the last I heard of her.
This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about Lovelace, every once in a while something happens that reminds me of her. I wonder if she’ll ever know how inspirational she was to me.