Back in May of 2010, I embarked on my great internet adventure and met my first online friend, Jen. She would later become Annie in Chapter 4 of my memoir, Novel Friends. That trip to Durham, North Carolina was my first trip, and thus, especially memorable. Annie would visit me in Minneapolis the next year (Chapter 15) and I would visit her again in North Carolina later in the fall. It wasn’t until February of this year that we saw each other again.
It had been more than seven years. Would most people just give up and say it’s been too long? Of course I couldn’t do that – I was hand-delivering a copy of Novel Friends to Jen, my Annie. Although that was the impetus for the trip, the real reason was I wanted to see Jen again. I wondered, though, if it would be awkward after such a long time apart. We hadn’t been keeping in touch much.
Jen would probably agree that the first few moments were spent mentally tapping into our memories of each other – Oh yeah, now I remember you. Now I remember! You’re the same mellow, easy-going Jen, interesting, talkative Jen. And she still lived in the same house with her three boys and husband, except that since they had all mysteriously aged 7 years, the oldest boy was now in college.
Once we reacclimated, we talked non-stop, catching up on each other’s lives. And it felt so very comfortable, just like old friends. Jen took me to Chapel Hill and we walked around the university campus, pretending to be professors since we can no longer pretend to be students. The weather was beautifully sunny and warm for February and I relished in the fact that I needed neither hat nor mittens!
It was a short trip, but before we parted, I made a video with Jen. I wanted the finished product for my YouTube channel, but the process of making the video together is what was special. It’s what you don’t get to see – setting up the camera, positioning the chairs, checking the angle, doing the test segment, and viewing the playback, all together.
I don’t know when Jen and I will see each other again, but even if it is ten years from now, I know I’ll be able to remember how to tap into our special friendship and pick up our stride again.