friends and lovers

How do we meet them? When do we know they will be important in our lives? What are the signs that certain people are meant to change you, permanently?

This weekend I found a good friend, and luckily, she is part of my family. At our mutual cousin's wedding we met again after probably 15 years. I don't even remember the last time I saw her but it was probably at our North Carolina family reunion, eating chicken stew cooked in a large cast iron kettle over an open flame. Surrounded by family I didn't know very well and in the mist of teenage angst I guess I didn't realize what an amazing person R. would grow to be. Funnily too, we lived an hour away from each other at one point in college and never made the trip over the mountains to meet.

R. currently lives in NYC pursuing her passion, poetry. She’s been through college, graduate school and now another masters degree for writing. She's lived almost a whole life since we last talked and I guess, I have too. We talked about NYC and my passion for that city and about poetry. We have more in common than I can believe. She is someone I wish had always been in my life and she was, I just didn't know it.

The cousin's wedding whom we were celebrating was brought about through similar circumstances. A. and B. had gone to high school together, but didn't run in the same circles. They both went on to college and jobs and lived in various other cities then met again a few years ago while both were back in their hometown. Their friends say that A. and B. are perfect together, they compliment each other, and that they are deeply in love.

Why does it take years, sometimes lifetimes to realize that people who surround you are the ones that will compliment you in ways you can't even fathom? It is as if we are not ready at times. Friends, lovers, husbands, and wives may pass us along the street, but until we have fully grown into ourselves, it doesn't matter how often we meet. When we are ready, hopefully they will be there. It's as if we are all just ships passing in the night and I'm so thankful when somehow we meet again and our lives begin a new direction.

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