I wrote this years ago, based on my nine friends and what it would be like getting together after years. The names used are fictitious of course, but the stories and memories are real.
I couldn’t hide my excitement. If I wasn’t aware of the hundreds of people around me, I would skip the rest of the way. I can’t recall the last time I looked forward to something, as much as I did this meeting. Six years ago, my eight best friends and I set off on our separate journeys to different colleges. The drastic change was horrible, we were leaving everything we knew and loved behind, the familiar red brick school building and the twelve year old friendships. It was hard but as they say, our futures were calling. Three years after graduation, we came together at Sam’s wedding.
Today, after years of being apart, surprisingly, we were all in the same place at once, and shockingly that place was New York. I was eager to know what they were all doing here, their lives were so incredible, and they all seemed to achieve what they had aimed for. Yes my eight best friends turned out to be the girls that accomplished all the goals they had set for themselves in high school.
I pushed open the coffee shop’s door, searching for a familiar face. Then 3 pairs of flailing hands caught my attention. I ran across the aisles of tables and threw myself on Reah before turning to Marissa and Melanie. When the shrieking and the giggling stopped, we sat down, itching to catch up. Those three looked incredible! For once Melanie’s hair was out of her face! Before we could start conversation, the coffee shop door opened once more revealing two women in fits of laughter. Typical Izzie and Ash. I caught their eyes and before anyone could say anything, we were running. The three of us practically collided into each other. We broke our bear hug shortly to see Sam enter, followed by Summer and Ariel. Just like that the 9 of us were hugging right in front of the entrance, completely blocking the passage way. People stared, just like they always did when we all got together in public places.
Seated at our table, with warm coffee in our hands, we started catching up. Summer was here for her art exhibition; her paintings were in great demand in this part of the world. Sam was here with her husband, they were both attending a fancy conference for lawyers. She was the best of the best. Izzie was here for a book tour, she had managed to complete her fourth bestseller.
“So Ash, are you finally buying Apple?” I teased nudging her. Ash had her own technology company; she was Apple’s biggest threat.
“Not yet,” she laughed, “that particular investment is in the near future but not now.”
“Then what’s the major announcement you told the press your making,” Summer asked eagerly.
Ash turned to me and said “Anya, do you remember how much tablets bothered me-”
“- you hated the fact that they didn’t have USB ports,” I nodded laughing.
“Well I changed that! We are launching a tablet that has USB ports! Obviously it has lots of other features but I don’t want to give everything away,” she ended grinning. I was staring at her.
“What?!” She demanded.
“You actually did what we used to joke about in our IT classes, I can hear my annoying teenage voice in my head, teasing you ‘if it bothers you so much Ash, make tablet with ports when you grow up.’” I smiled doing my best imitation off me before I added “you actually did it.” I had to admit, I was slightly jealous, but insanely proud. She had achieved something huge; people were going to go crazy over this tablet!
“What about you Reah? What brings you here?” Ariel asked.
Reah sighed “stupid business meeting, God! They are so boring! I’m usually just staring outside the glass windows, marveling at the view. God bless my assistant who actually pays attention!”
We all burst out laughing.
“Please Reah! You wouldn’t be CEO of the company if you did that,” Sam laughed.
“Obviously I don’t do that all the time! Just when it’s really pretty outside,” she smiled.
” Let me guess, Marissa, your here for that big UN meeting,” Izzie said flatly, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“Well it is a job requirement,” she replied casually, sipping her coffee. “How come you don’t have security with you?” Melanie snorted. “Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there,” she gave an evil smile before continuing “What about the two doctors? Melanie, Ariel, what are you guys doing away from your hospitals?”
They both replied in synchronization “doctors conference,” Melanie was an accomplished cardiothoracic surgeon, while Ariel was an equally accomplished neurosurgeon. I was surrounded with success stories.
“What about you Anya? Last time we talked you were living in Florida, what are you doing here,” Izzie asked startling me. Suddenly all eyes were on me.
“Well umm I sort of live here now,” I mumbled.
“How come?” Sam questioned evidently curious.
“Well the department here heard about my success rates in Florida and offered to make me head of the homicide department. So I’m working as a homicide detective here now,” I explained calmly. “It’s not a huge job like all of yours but I guess I’m happy,” I added awkwardly. It was embarrassing not having done anything big like the rest of them.
“No that’s big! You get murderers off the street, you make the world a safer place,” Reah replied reassuring me. I sighed, “guys please don’t do what you did in high school, I’m ok I swear.”
There was an awkward silence. Before it could stretch on, I decided to break it “I might be getting married soon though.” First they were quiet, and then the table erupted with squeals. “How can you say that so casually?” Melanie exclaimed.
“Finally someone else is getting married too!” Sam added happily.
“How could you not tell me that before?” Ash and Izzie yelled slapping my arms.
“Ok calm down everyone!” I laughed forcing them to sit down. “Nothing is settled yet, he asked me, I said yes but our parents still have to approve and you know my mom, you never know what she would say.”
“She just wants you to be happy, I’m sure she’ll be ok with it!” Ash chirped excitedly.
“I can’t believe you didn’t say anything though,” Reah muttered, “That is so unlike you! I mean you didn’t even tell Izzie!”
“I was going to tell you guys when it was confirmed.” Then I turned to Ash “it’s not just my mom, his parents have to like me as well!”
“Please! You’re the ideal daughter-in-law!” She laughed going red.
“What’s wrong with you?” Summer laughed.
“What! I’m really happy ok! Finally Anya will have her 10 kids!” She burst out laughing and then there was an eruption of laughter. I was blushing furiously
“SIX YEARS! And you still haven’t gotten over that obsession of yours,” I sighed, laughing slightly.
“Yeah come on Ash, let your dream go, Anya is not going to have 10 kids for your sake!” Reah snorted.
“Yay! Finally a wedding to look forward too!” Summer exclaimed clapping. Unexpectedly Reah threw her arms around me “look at you! You’re so cute! You’re blushing” She smiled speaking in her high pitch baby voice.
“It’s good I’m here for a few days, Anya, you and I have some important topics to discuss, if you know what I mean,” Sam spoke raising her eyebrows. Instinctively I covered my face, “Oh dear God!” I exclaimed shaking my head. My reaction brought the laughter back again.
“You can’t possibly avoid it anymore, Anya you need to know now!” Ash laughed poking me. My face burned red. “I feel like I’ve fallen back into 2010!” I exclaimed, shaking my head, giggling.
“Look at us; we actually haven’t changed,” Ash giggled looking around.
“We knew we’d never mature,” Izzie snorted.
“Speak for yourself, I’m quite mature, thank you very much,” Marissa added in a dignified voice.
“When were you ever immature?” I laughed.
“Hey I’m not immature!” Sam added seriously.
“Of course you’re not immature Sam, you’re unrejected!” Izzie burst out laughing, we all followed suit. It was so strange that we were still laughing at a slip up Sam made a good ten years ago.
“I haven’t laughed like this since the last time we got together,” I smiled clutching my stomach.
“Yeah Sam’s wedding was great fun,” Ariel grinned.
“Of course it was! It was MY wedding!” Sam added proudly.
Reah rolled her eyes, while many of us shook our heads. Nothing had changed one bit.
There was silence again.
“I don’t want to say bye yet,” I whispered looking at all of them. “Yeah I don’t want to go yet either,” Ariel sighed.
“We don’t have to, I’m sure we all can spare a little more time,” Melanie looked around at everyone. Phones popped out, everyone checked their schedules and slowly sounds of approval were heard.
“I’m glad you all were able to take time out of your busy schedules for this,” I smiled.
“Shut up Anya!” Sam exclaimed rolling her eyes.
“Yeah it’s not like we did anyone any favor, we all wanted to be here today,” Izzie added.
We were quiet again, the waiter had come to take the cheque and as always, we were having difficulty splitting it equally. “Reaching the levels we all have, you would think we could split a cheque properly by now!” Marissa exclaimed handing Sam her share of money.
“Do you realize we always end up making Sam collect the money, just as we make Anya put food in our plates!” Ash laughed giving Sam her share.
“Iz do you remember that waiter, the guy who was flirting with us, the mango milkshake guy!” Sam exclaimed looking at Izzie. Then they both imitated that waiter’s accent and burst out laughing. Izzie was laughing so hysterically she was moving her hands too much, dropping the money she had taken out from her wallet, on the floor. Typical Izzie. I picked it up and waited for her to calm down.
“I think you dropped something,” I smirked handing her the money.
“Izzie you will NEVER change!” Reah exclaimed laughing.
“OH! IZ! Do you remember in 10th grade you flushed money down the toilet?” I exclaimed looking at her. Again everyone was laughing.
“My mom was so mad at me when I told her,” Izzie laughed.
“Did you expect anything different?!” Ariel snorted.
“Man we were crazy!” Summer smiled.
“Mostly Izzie,” Sam smiled nudging Izzie.
“We’ve all done really stupid things!” I laughed, thinking back. The twelve years I spent in that red brick building with these eight were the craziest years of my life! We have been through a hell of a lot together! Good times and bad times, we have seen it all and looking around now, even after almost twenty years of friendship, we are as strong as ever. If we could make it this far, I was certain, we had nothing to worry about. This friendship wasn’t going to end anytime soon.