Today was my best friend’s birthday. It has been over 10 days that I hadn’t heard anything from her. She was completely out of reach due to some personal reasons. She sent a voice note earlier saying she needed a little space to solve some pending issues and that she’d call me back soon. That was it. Creepy thoughts kept nagging on me. Was she really avoiding me? Was it her way of telling me she didn’t want to be my friend anymore? Was it something I said or did? What secret was she hiding…from me? Of all people!!!and the more negative thought of all was, “was I losing her?”
I woke up today determined to find out what was wrong, anxious to know what she was really up to (with her phone off, email bouncing back, inactive social media accounts and all). I strapped my baby girl into her stroller, grabbed her birthday gift and headed straight to her home. I wasn’t sure whether my eyes watered from the wind blowing in my face as I pushed the stroller steadily up and down the pedestrian-unfriendly streets of our neighborhood, or out of fear that she might stand there unmoved, or worse – disturbed – by my surprising appearance at her door. And then I told myself I didn’t care, I had every right to check on my friend, even if she demanded to be left alone. Arriving at her building, I was greeted by the power cut which would last another hour, as one neighbor informed. You see, in Lebanon we have a 3-hour power cut daily schedule to save energy – assuming we actually had a power shortage in the first place, of course.
Feeling rather crushed, I unstrapped my girl who recently started walking, folded the stroller and carried them on each arm and walked up the stairs to her apartment. All the way up to the fifth floor, I prayed to find her home, but something told me she wasn’t though her car was parked outside the building. I was right, her mother apologized for her absence and disclosed some information that justified her sudden disappearance. I politely thanked her for receiving us so unexpectedly and left her home thinking about all the things that connect me to this girl.
In Ramadan 2003, my BFF and I met at our neighborhood’s most-attended mosque while we were praying the nightly prayers (or Taraweeh). We became the best of friends and sisters in faith since then. That deep connection remained though the years had passed and despite my marriage, my relocation to Saudi Arabia between 2007 and 2013, and my overwhelming motherhood tasks. I can’t recall a time when this uniquely thoughtful lady, whom I’m proud to call my friend, had not made me feel worth loving and so special. She is the kind of person who reminds you of all the good there is in life in spite of all the evil, mercilessness and greed that has taken over humanity. She has the heart (and temper) of a little child. Sweet but fiesty, strong but stubborn, frank but untactful. Above all, she was sincere and upfront, which is all I look for in a person.
She called me back in the afternoon to thank me for the gift and reassure me that she was alright. When we hung up, I realized how blessed I was, not because she was sent into my life but also because I was sent into hers for a reason. I don’t often go out of my way for people, I frankly stopped doing that after several disappointments. (that’s something I’ll leave for later blogposts). But for her I’ll go the extra mile just to see her smile. I know she would do that for me any given day. A friendship that’s sincerely mutual is a friendship worth keeping for life.
Someone once asked me why that girl, of all my other friends, was so dear to me. My answer came out unclear but now I do have the clarity to reply with “it’s Divinely made”. We love people regardless of their looks, size, race, color or religion, we love them for who they are on the inside. My friend has loved me for the hesitant person I’d been when I first met her, the mess I was when I was abroad, and the more mess I’ve become coming back home. She’s loved me when I was always there for her, and even more when I couldn’t be around. And I love her just the same. Sometimes I feel that our paths have crossed that holy night in that sacred place for a reason: So that we’d always remind one another of God. That is the bond that ties us together. When the going gets tough she always points at the bright side and unties the blindfold on my eyes. When she hits rock bottom I pull her back up and remind her of her massive inner strength.
Today was indeed a great day because I found out that I was the one who received the best gift of all: the gift of a timeless friendship that I will guard with my life.
Happy birthday sweetest friend, how lucky I am to have you ❤️