The only reason Eva and I stayed in touch after high school was because of Beth. Beth kept Eva up-to-date on my college life and visa versa – Beth fielding questions from both of us asking about the other’s dating life, travel plans etc. Once school finished and our return-flights from wherever we were traveling brought us home, we were all in hometown, New Westminster. Beth arranged a night for the three of us to get together (in Eva’s bedroom, flopped on her bed and floor – high school style) – that was the night we realized we had that Anne of Green Gables like bosom buddy friendship.
I’ve got Beth (or as I call her: Red) to thank for my friendship with Eva, and for that I am deeply thankful.
Beth shared this letter with me last night, and with her permission, I’m sharing it with you. It serves as a kind reminder that even though time passes, the impact someone has on us after their gone – remains in full force.
The snow has finally begun to melt. Tiny patches of green emerging through the salty grey mass of ice that has slid onto the city since what feels like Thanksgiving. I really never thought I’d be where I am now five years ago. Now I am living back east, drinking milk out of bags and explaining to everyone back home I don’t live in Toronto but yes I do live in Ontario. I must say I am pleasantly surprised at how things turned out. My few week stint out here became a permanent move. Did you think I could survive without Kits and the ocean….neither did I!
Spring to me, to us, always meant endless possibility. It was in March, before your birthday, that dreams of plans for adventures would begin. Because of course they took planning. Parties, trips, ideas. Like that time we wanted to go camping on Galiano as soon as possible, as soon as the campground opened. We needed maps and gear, and everything else in your garage. Realistically we ended up going in mid June instead of early May, but we were better for it. At least our tans (well burns) were. Remember that white crush shell beach? We spent what felt like hours in the water, balancing the need to eat with the joy of needing to be exactly where we were. In my office sits a photo that you took of a carving you made in an arbutus tree. I can’t remember if it’s from that weekend or another one we spent there, but it says “Galiano is Heaven.” Wasn’t that the truth.
I just found that necklace the other day, the whales-tail good charm luck one. We got them together at a roadside market where we stopped to find a bathroom. Who knows what you find when you stop to pee right?
Anyways, this spring is getting off on the right foot. All my “grown-up” things are covered. But I won’t lie, I’m itching for some adventure. A bit of unexpected in my weekend maybe. Weird that I have an actual weekend now, like the rest of the “grown-ups”. Except instead of looking forward to a far flung adventure we didn’t know the ending to, I look forward to time. Time with my family, my friends, my loves. After all, isn’t that what we did all those weekends ago, plan to be together with those we love?
I often get caught up. Caught up with the routine, caught up with the peaks and valleys of my career, caught up with the ebbs and flows of relationships. You know how it is…the phone rings, your car breaks, the cat needs food, a friend texts “let’s hangout” and that is all of a sudden the best idea in the world instead of laundry or that damn light fixture I’ve been trying to put in. You’d love it, the chandelier I bought. It’s tarnished in the perfect spots but not groddy. It looks loved not used. (Therefore perfect!) I got it from this antique shop (my new Value Village) and I want to prove to the world I, Bethany Vogler, can install a light. And by the world I mean myself, and by install I mean hang up. It is harder than it looks, I swear.
I went for a walk the other day, braved the sub zero wind chill in search of sunlight on my face. I was presently surprised when walking along the canal (it’s what they call a river in this city) I felt warmth. It had been WEEKS of frigid air, not a solitary inch of skin allowed to be exposed for fear of ending up looking like a frost bitten explorer with no nose. The more I walked, the warmer I got. I ended up at the end of the canal at a spot overlooking where the two rivers meet. It was so still all of sudden. So calm. So quiet. And then a soft breeze came up, carrying the scent of blossoms. Promising that spring was just around the corner. I smiled to myself. I knew it was you. Filling my heart with anticipation of the adventures ahead.
Eva, there is no way else to say it. I miss you.
I miss you the most when I feel unsure. When I want to call and get the real deal on what I should do. Because you’ve known me a third oft life. And that I should never wear green eye shadow, that I should always insert my thought into a conversation even if I’m the only one who thinks that way, that I might not be right but I’m definitely not wrong.
I don’t know sometimes what I should say when I’ve gotten myself into an argument and caused grief. I don’t know what to write in my cover letter to this Masters program I’m thinking of applying to. And I don’t know what to wear tomorrow night for this concert I have tickets for.
I’d ask for your help, but I know it’s already there. I’d call you to listen your voice, but I can already hear your laughter. Because you are always with me.
Which brings me to why I really wrote to you. After five long years. I wanted to say thank you. For never leaving my heart, for easing my fears of losing a friend, for making it known that I am loved by you. It’s how I’ve gotten by since you left.
I got by with a little help from my friend.
Love love love,