A Hateful Anniversary

river_1Today is the 30th anniversary of the Challenger exploding. For my demographic, this is one of the events we know where we were when we heard about it. We remember the video playing again and again. I was between classes and had just walked into Journalism. I had to excuse myself to the bathroom to hold on to the cool white porcelain sink while I heaved great big sobs.

I was devastated. I’d lived in Southern California and the Shuttles sonic booms as it entered the earth’s atmosphere were one of those sounds that thrilled us. And that particular Challenger launch was even more special because Christa McAuliffe was on board. A high school teacher going to space! How long before any one of us would be going too?!

But this is also the anniversary of the day that I hated my best friend.

His name is Jef and I can tell you the exact moment we met because he was one of the first friendly faces in a new school. We were sophomores. We had moments of wondering if we’d be more than friends, but that never worked. However, we were always friends.

He was an artist and hilarious. He was wise and silly.

It’s smart to staff to your weaknesses. Hire people who bring to the table what you are lacking. Well, Jef was that for me. He brought talent and perspective to my table. I don’t know what I brought to his table, but we were solid friends through those years.

And then on this day, he made a joke about the Challenger exploding. And I lost it. We were in Ms. Matney’s drama class just a few hours after it happened. I yelled about his humor being out of place and mean. He yelled about the first amendment. I think he might have said I was bossy.  It’s a blur.

But I can tell you right now, I vividly specifically remember the flush that took over my whole body that someone I loved said something I hated. It was like being rolled in a vat of needles– the pokes started in my feet and rose to the roots of my hair.

Other misunderstandings caused me to end our friendship a few years after high school. Though I say I ended it, but Jef’s response at the time was something like “whatever” and he joked about how ridiculous I was for telling him I wasn’t his friend anymore instead of just getting on with it. Hm. WELL then.

So over two decades later, a guy named Mark had invented Facebook. And Jef and I find each other.  And as we caught up with another I realized how much I had missed him. How happy I was to have him back in my life.

He once again brings to my table exactly what I need– humor, wisdom, insight, support. I try to bring that to his table too.

He set up this blog. We are over 2000 miles apart and he is one of my closest friends. We won’t ever be more than friends, but we’ll never be less.

Though I’m not going to ask him if he remembers that joke he shouldn’t have told.