83: When Our Hearts Meet

83: When Our Hearts Meet

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls

When Our Hearts Meet

There is magic in long-distance friendships. They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound.

~Diana Cortes

I’ve had a best friend for thirty-one years… and we’ve never met. We’re pen pals. I live in Seattle and Denise lives in Texas. For thirty-one years we’ve written hundreds of letters, sent thousands of e-mails and exchanged countless gifts but we’ve never spoken on the phone and we’ve never met face to face.

In 1982, Denise read a story in a magazine I’d written and she wrote to me. I answered her letter and we became instant friends.

We went from being pen pals, to being “forever” friends and one soul living in two bodies.

We have become mirrors of each other’s emotions. If she’s sad then I’m sad, if I’m happy then she is happy for me. When I’m right, she cheers me on. When I’m wrong, she still cheers me on. It’s easy to have a friend who sticks by you when you are right; it’s harder to find a friend who sticks by you when you are wrong and who tries, with love and encouragement, to get you back on the right track.

Three times we’ve given each other the same Christmas gifts, the packages crossing in the mail.

We both know we can share any secret, voice any opinion, reveal any heartache, or cry a thousand tears and there is one person who will listen, understand, sympathize, and try to help if possible. If there is nothing we can do to help, then we are just “there.”

We like the same books, the same movies, the same music, but we don’t always agree on everything, and that is okay. The years have seen us go from being young mothers to being grandmothers. We brag about our children when they do well, and we weep over our children when they have problems. We’ve shared a dozen diets, none of which have worked for us.

Family members, our children, and other friends might not “get us,” and might be quick to criticize, but Denise and I are so fortunate — we can reach out any time of the day or night and pour out our hearts and know there is someone out there who will understand.

Big traumas like divorce and death are treated with compassion and sympathy and encouragement. Small traumas like weight gain and bad haircuts are also treated with a proper amount of sympathy and a great deal of humor.

We can spend days laughing over nothing, exchanging dozens of e-mails filled with what would be utter nonsense to anyone but us. People ask us what we could possibly think of to talk about that often, but we never seem to run out of things to say. We only run out of time to say them.

Our children have grown, Denise is divorced, and I lost my husband several years ago. She lives alone in Texas and I live alone in Seattle.

We’ve talked about trying to meet and maybe even taking a vacation together but she’s taking care of her mother who has Alzheimer’s and I have my own obligations. In some ways it is disappointing to think we’ll never meet each other or spend time together, but maybe we don’t need to. I don’t know how we could be any closer or love each other more. The odds are against us meeting — distance, health, finances, and duty keep us from just jumping on a plane and flying across the country.

Every morning I have the same routine. I get up, get dressed, walk into the living room and turn on the computer. I go into the kitchen and turn on the coffee pot, then return to my computer to see if Denise is there yet. Most of the time she’s there to say good morning, and she often has a joke or something funny to share that will start my day with a smile.

I wish we lived in the same town. I wish we were neighbors. I get tired of living alone and especially during the holidays it is hard to have a best friend who is a thousand miles away.

Almost every night I go for a walk and look at the moon.

I watch the moon change shape from crescent to full and change color from silver to gold and I am in awe of the beauty of God’s handiwork. My family never understood my love and fascination with the moon. They spend their evenings watching TV or sitting at their computers.

Last night I looked at the moon and felt melancholy and lonely. Before I went to bed, I checked my e-mail and my friend had written, “I saw the moon tonight and it looked like a pale, crooked pearl.”

A thousand miles away, my friend had looked at the moon and thought about me, and suddenly the thousand miles between us vanished and we were together.

Denise and I may never meet face to face, but our hearts meet every day.

~April Knight

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