Last night, I went to dinner with some of my best friends. I met them 14 years ago, when I was a scared 17-year-old away from home for the first time at college two hours from my family and friends. We were all assigned to “Second Street,” a strange little dorm with quads on two floors of the administration building on campus. No one really knew where we lived, we weren’t in the Virgin Vault at the bottom of the hill, or the Slut Hut in between the boy’s dorms. We all met that first week, became the “Street Girls,” and the ten of us pretty much stuck to each other like glue for four years of college.
Since the day we met, we’ve been through a lot together, good and bad. First loves and first heartbreaks (“We’ll have one of everything on the menu; we’ve had a breakup”), marriages & divorces, fights (some involving wrestling & potato chips) and some of the best nights of our lives. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve danced to “Like a Prayer” or held up beer bottles to sing “Living on a Prayer.” We’ve had random conversations with boys (“Oh, you’re Irish?” “si”), and nights when I’ve been in pain from laughing so much. We’ve eaten & drank more together than I care to admit, but may have danced enough to burn some of it off.
Now, we all have our own lives, not crammed together in a smelly dorm room. We almost all live within an hour of Boston, with one in Chicago who we’ve been lobbying to get back here. Some of us get together more than others, but we always make an effort to have a Christmas gathering of some sort. We’ve had sleepovers & house parties involving booze soup, and more recently, have settled on a big meal out, lots of wine, and re-telling of old stories (“How old is Nik’s baby now?”)
Last night we met at an Italian restaurant, and 8 of 10 of us were there, which may be a record. We raised our glasses to toast the only toast we seem to know: “Here’s to you and here’s to me, the best of friends we’ll always be. But if by chance we disagree, well, fuck you, and here’s to me.”
I hate that toast, and I was feeling sentimental and a little mushy, so I said so. But, of course, I couldn’t come up with a better one, so we compromised by changing the last “me” to “we.” And it made me feel better, because the original toast just isn’t true. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve disagreed about things: boys, money, child rearing, dual citizenship, careers, how much to tip, what to order for dinner. And you know what? It doesn’t matter how much we disagree, I can’t imagine a single Street Girl ever saying “screw you, I’m done.”
That’s what defines a true friendship: not the years we’ve spent together, not the trips we’ve taken or number of kegs we’ve consumed. True friendship is sticking together through the disagreements, being there for each other through the hard times, and knowing that even though we can’t turn the clock back to trekking to the caf in the snow wearing pajamas, and we might not see each other enough now that we’re “grown ups”, we’re still the best of friends, no matter what.
Here’s to we.