Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Girls....

The phone rings in the middle of the night
My father yells what you gonna do with your life
Oh daddy dear you know you're still number one 
But girls they want to have fun .............................Cyndi Lauper


Once upon a time there were 6 girls who were not bound by blood but by choices.  The first choice being that their parents had all left their native Romania to come to the US.  The second choice was that their parents had chosen to settle in areas that were close (walking distances) to one another, except for 1 and we will get to her.  The third choice was that they chose each other to be friends with in a strange land, to stay friends with in life, to forgive each other when they were not their best and to let go of one of them when they knew they had lost the thread that bound them to her. 


I was one of those 6 girls, the others were Margaret (who lived in NJ which seemed so far to us at the time), Mary, Liri and her sister Mireille, and Gabby.  We were exactly one year apart (me oldest and Mireille youngest).  Mary and I (when she was 6 and I 8) somehow "babysat" one another by walking together home from school, it was a different era and kids did that so it was not that odd.  We were known to "forget" our keys ( a ruse that involved going to our respective apartments and leaving our keys there) so that we could spend time together.  Mary and I took vacations together, only children, and were Be Fris (if you are a child of the late 70s you will remember those gold hearts that split in two they spelled Best Friend and you each wore one Be Fri St end) and blood sisters (got that from some after school movie am sure).  Liri and Mireille joined us often and we spent endless hours at the movies, walking to every where, playing handball in school yards and talking for hours.  Mary's Father was a master at tracking us down, in alleys with boys we liked, in candy stores playing video games (hoping said boys would come in) and his famous line to us was "fetele" which is "girls" in Romanian.  Everyone knew him and we knew better than to try and not go when he came to collect us.  Gabby joined us at some point too and she quickly became our close friend.  She was cooler than us, she was more willing to to push the limits.  


We girls grew up together, fighting at times to the death (aka crying our eyes out) but quickly understanding we could not live without one another.  We went from ponytails to flipped hair (better for Mireille and Mary with the straight hair), crazy Ozone depleting giant hair (better for me and Liri) to current ahh this is the look that says me more than my era.  We pined and asked for Sasson and Jordache jeans, Reeboks, boom boxes, walkmen, to iPads we let our kids play with.  We cried for each other when any one of us got in trouble and were mercilessly blackmailed by Mireille to taking her along with us even though she was younger.  The girls shared stories of first kisses, 7th grade groping, high school make out marathons, THE first time, the best time, and now we are share our comfort in our own sexuality, no longer afraid of and aware of our needs and likes.  We watched boys to see if they were looking at the one of us who liked him as we walked out of our way by that boy (sometimes he looked and it was cause for hours of talking and dissecting that look).  We learned to smoke together, to drink together(oh the horror of thinking we drank a mixture of all that my parents bar had in small amounts snuck into via not so well cleaned Wella shampoo bottle to family party - Margaret's basement a novelty that afforded us a freedom small apartments could not).   We were there for one another with crushes, trends and heartbreaks.  At some point we drifted apart.  For each of us that meant expanding our friendships with others, having new experiences, and growing up as individuals not as only "the girls".  


We never parted ways completely though, somehow always connecting here and there.  Margaret got married while we were all in colleges and had no inclination to do so.  Mary, Mireille and I went to college in New York, got jobs and enjoyed the sins and saves that the city has to offer.  Liri decided she wanted to live in Europe.  We had no emails or Facebook or even cell phones for a while (I moved a lot within New York, outside of New York) but somehow we always found each other.  We found each other to recommend each other for jobs, to be there when my Dad, Mary's Mom and Gabby's Mom all died within the same year and none of us were past 30 (or even close to it).  We lost each other to lovers, to moves, to lack of time. We knew we could call each other when those lovers, moves did not work out and we needed help.


We lost Gabby, maybe she needed us not to drift apart more than any of the others.  She was a little lost from the day we met her and somehow others pulled her farther and farther to the place she had been heading before she met us ....it is a dark place and I think most of us have realized we are not to blame, cannot save her. Gabby we love you but you must find your way back on your own.  The rest of us now are married, and have more children than we ever thought between us.  We have a bond that stretches between Westchester, Romania, New Jersey, Massachusetts and South Carolina that is unlike any other friendship.  We try and do a get together with our families at least once every few years which is bit like planning the Olympics logistically.  When we do get together though we laugh at each other, we cry for one another, we hug and kiss a lot, we look at our families and cannot believe how old we are all getting and mostly we look into each other's eyes and see only "fetele".  

Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest of the world
I want to be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have ...Cyndi Lauper

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