I arrived in Oakland the morning of the book event with starry eyes and carry-on luggage in tow. As excited as I was to be part of The Moment book read in San Francisco, I was even more jazzed to hang with my old friend, Kimmy.

Kimmy and I go back.

Before texts, Facebook, and iPhones, we gabbed on our land-line telephones nursing hangovers as we tried to endure the agonizing three-day waiting period it took for our camera film to develop. We lived off 7-Eleven nachos, Burrito Supremes, and the type of audacious fortitude only twenty-three year olds could know.  We swapped form-fitting dresses and leather shoulder-padded jackets from Contempo Casuals and flirted with boys who bought us wine coolers.

I consider it a personal blessing there was no You Tube (let alone, Internet) back then.

It wasn’t an instant connection. As most women do, we sized one another up and felt a competitive vibe upon introduction. But as time passed and our armor of insecurities wore down with each passing laugh and discovery, we became sisters.

Kimmy is the type of friend who tells it to you straight; I admired her honesty and bowed to her take-no-shit from men attitude. She admired my strength to endure the life I was making for myself – full of addiction, abuse and the chaos my choices caused. She saw my beauty before I even knew how to find it myself..

When I decided to move away from home and off the island, Kimmy was the one who gave me the push I needed. Still stripping on the weekends but trying to break free from the night life, I picked up a job waiting tables at California Pizza Kitchen just outside Waikiki. When Kimmy knew I was serious about moving, she helped line up a restaurant transfer at her local CPK.

A few weeks later, I arrived in Northern California with two suitcases and dreams of a better life.  I slept on Kimmy’s living room floor, and grew accustomed to her two-year old, Kai’s wake-up calls; his chubby fingers pushing my forehead and groggy voice always asking: “Kiki, you up?”

After a couple of years and a half-dozen career-changing forks in the road which included waiting tables, selling hair care products, and managing clothing stores, I headed south in search of warmer beach weather, and landed in Laguna Beach.

For no other reason than life sweeping us away through the years, Kimmy and I lost touch. We were never far from our minds, however, with each passing holiday, birthday and momentous occasion (she saw my cancer, and raised me her brain tumor – discovered while she was seven months pregnant with baby number three).

Still, the calls dwindled and our communication morphed in to sporadic texts. Fast forward to our recent reunion in San Francisco last week, and like no time passed, we were back.

The book read was a huge success and my visit with Kimmy, an overdue celebration of sisterhood.

KikiKaiKimiKai

Little Kai when we shared morning snuggles and cereal. And now, off to college in Santa Barbara. Kimmy never ages! But, KAI? Watch out ladies – you hurt him, Aunkie Kiki will find you!

It’s hard to imagine my little alarm clock, Kai is in college. It’s even more of a challenge to realize I’ve been off the island for over a decade. And although almost nothing in our lives is turning out exactly as we planned, we can be sure of some things: our friendship is never-ending, we still make each other laugh, and we never have to wait for camera film again.

.

Silly, with a side of Boon’s Farm

Happy Birthday in Waikiki

In tears, saying Aloha to Hawaii. Headed to California for a new start.

We haven’t changed a bit.

Spring, 2013.

.

ThenandNow

Then and Now.

“Time it was and what a time it was, it was – a time of innocence – A time of confidences. Long ago it must be – I have a photograph
Preserve your memories – They’re all that’s left you”
– Simon and Garfunkel

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9 comments

  1. Tears. and smiles. I'm not sure which I'm smiling for and which I'm crying for… Maybe the wonderful memories you brought up (I can see & feel Then), or maybe what's been lost to the past (my little Kai!). It could be that I look down at my existing body and am sad that I'll never look like that girl again, or maybe it's the "Fashion dont's" staring out of those photos! :)Either way, I'm SO glad that I was lucky enough to have you there with me then, and here with me now. The times we were out of touch don't matter, the fact that we still are matters a lot. You know I love you more than my luggage.

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  2. Christine, you've captured the essence of friendship and that time period so well. Your writing has always appealed to me, I have always enjoyed your detailed descriptions of events, very detailed yet they always include a very deep emotional element as well. It's really the combination I've been looking for in my own writing…and you do it so incredibly well that it feels as if we get to come on this weekend journey as well, as if we too are meeting a dear, old friend…the kind you really don't even need words to communicate with. The shared experience of your lives does it for you…glances, knowing smiles, a nod of the head are enough in this time warp your presence together after so many years creates…Though living a life as you've had to as a stripper, with all the chaos, etc. that goes with that or my live as a decades long coke addict isn't a bowl of cherries and I don't recommend it to ANYONE, I will say living like that can promote some incredible relationships with people who shared our experiences. And much like soldiers who have gone to battle together…only those select few people really "know us" and what IT was like back then. If we can manage to survive the lifestyle, that is when those relationships become PRICELESS and you have captured THAT essence..perfectly.Not an easy task, I know I've tried.A wonderful post, powerful and so full of emotion…great stuff!

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  3. @IT Thanks so much! I think we look much more grounded in our older age. :)@Thormoo – What a lovely comment and compliment, thank you, friend. It's so great to connect with people who know the road we hiked our way out of. xo

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