Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 9 - Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.

From Thirty Days of Truth

This one is easy. My friend, Paula.

Paula and I met when we were both volunteers at the Suicide and Crisis Service (SACS) pulling 4, 8 or 12 hour shifts answering phones for a suicide and crisis helpline.

Over a period of many years from the mid-seventies until the early 90's, Paula and I became really close. Whenever we were together, we just couldn't shut up. We talked constantly about anything and everything, we laughed, held hands, cried, got mad, hugged, then the next time we got together, we'd start all over again. Paula and her two daughters would come to dinner and she and I would wind up talking while Tom kept 4 kids busy.

When we moved from the San Francisco bay area to the north shore of Lake Tahoe, Paula and her two daughters would come to visit periodically and I would go back to the bay area to visit her. In between, we would talk on the phone or write letters, usually the latter since she was single mother struggling on her small income.

Paula knew me better than anyone else, except for Tom, and I cherished her friendship.

In the early 80's, we moved from Lake Tahoe to southern California and Paula moved a little further away to Santa Cruz. Our kids had grown older and their lives were busier and so became ours. Paula and I still spoke on the phone and wrote letters, but not as often. I visited her once at her home in Santa Cruz. She visited once in southern California when my oldest son got married.

We moved to Arkansas in 1993 and Paula moved back to the San Francisco bay area to Palo Alto. Living over 24 hours away from each other with little or no personal face time takes a toll on a relationship. Our letters dwindled to a page or two crammed into a Christmas card. Our phone calls dropped off to once or twice a year, then none, until we both moved, changed addresses and phone numbers and failed to inform the other.

I think about Paula often. I've even tried to find a way to contact her via the internet with no luck, but I keep trying. I hope someday I finally get lucky.

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