Having faith in my friend Hope | AspenTimes.com

Having faith in my friend Hope

Alison Berkley

My old friend Hope is visiting, and I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am to see her.If you thought that was a double entendre, well, I guess it is.Hope is actually a real person. She is one of my oldest and dearest friends; someone who can totally deal with me for better or worse no matter what. That’s refreshing, especially during this all too bizarre post-yoga boot camp era, when some of my friendships aren’t proving to be as sturdy as I once thought.The last time Hope and I got into a spat it was because she was honest with me about my little phase last summer when I stopped wearing a bra.”You do have a little sag going,” she said.I probably brought it up at least 20 times to try to make her feel guilty until I finally went to Cheeks and bought a Cosabella padded bra, which is a lot better than the strap-on boobs that Victoria Secret makes – totally worth the extra money.Anyway, Hope and I met our freshman year in high school when I accidentally took her backpack home by mistake. She was the new kid who had just moved from Rhode Island and her parents enrolled her in the same fancypants private day school I was in. You know, one of those East Coast prep schools with a British sounding hyphenated name and ivy-covered buildings.You might say we spent our formidable years together, sharing those “remember when” experiences we love to keep alive now that we are (ahem!) grown women. At least Hope is. She ended up going to a decent college back East and then on to nursing school. She’s now the head nurse at an upscale orthopedic doctor’s office in Connecticut, and comes to Colorado on her doc’s private jet. Point is, she has a pretty grown-up life filled with weekends on the Hamptons, sailing on various friend’s boats, and the same preppy clothes and pearl-studded earrings she wore in high school. Even though she hasn’t changed much, you could say she’s pretty sophisticated.That’s what makes reliving these old stories even funnier.Like this one time when we were 15, we smuggled whiskey out of her parent’s liquor cabinet in a bell jar. We waited until everyone was asleep and tip-toed out of the house to wander the rural streets of Bloomfield, Conn., where we polished off the booze in an overgrown cornfield or pumpkin patch, or maybe it was the sprawling lawn of some big private estate we were trespassing through – I don’t really remember. We got totally plastered and entertained ourselves by diving off the road every 45 minutes when a car just happened to drive by. We literally jumped head-first into these steep ditches that must have been there to keep the roads from flooding during heavy rain. It actually rained that night, which then prompted us to take off all our clothes and walk home naked. No matter what images that might conjure up in your head, it was actually quite innocent. I think we just liked the idea of feeling the rain; of celebrating the freedom of our youth in a part of the country where no one is going to notice two nude teenage girls who reek of whiskey walking down an empty street at two o’clock in the morning.My other favorite Hope story is when we were dating these boys who were also best friends. They lived about 20 minutes by car from my house, but that was before we were old enough to drive. One night, we decided to sneak out and meet them at a local park down the street. We spread out a few blankets under a tree and did what teenagers do, making out and smoking pot until dawn. We sneaked in through the basement just as my dad was waking up to go for his daily morning run. As soon as we crawled into bed, it started to rain. There we were, curled up in our warm beds – while those poor boys pedaled 15 miles back to Farmington in a torrential downpour – sharing one last good fit of stoned laughter before we fell asleep.But the best was the day we decided to do shots of vodka in the parking lot before lacrosse practice. Needless to say, we were on the JV team.For some reason, having shared experiences like those makes it really easy for us to relate to each other as adults. When you’ve done that many stupid things together, it removes any temptation to ever be judgmental. Like, when she calls me and says, “Paul and I are getting a divorce because I found out he’s a drug addict and he fell in love with a girl at rehab,” I don’t even bat an eye. Or, I can call her and say, “I spent the night with the Caveman again, and, even though he won’t kiss me or talk to me or look at me, he’s really good in bed,” and she totally understands.But that’s the point. So many people have come in and out of lives over the years – husbands, boyfriends, and friends who, for some reason or another, aren’t worth the trouble of holding on to. As we get older, we seem to be less inclined to put the effort into it, mostly because our past experiences dictate that it’s just not worth it. We’ve both been hurt before and we’ve both been there to help each other pick up the pieces.Don’t get me wrong – I’ve got lots of wonderful friends. But lately especially, I’ve had a few that turned out to be not so wonderful. The disappointment of a friend loved and lost for whatever reason is always hard.That’s why it’s so good to know that no matter what happens, there’s always Hope.The Princess is looking forward to a change in seasons. E-mail your love to alison@berkleymedia.com

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