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.
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.
We haven’t changed a bit.
“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