A Hindu, Muslim, Jehovah's Witness, and atheist walk into a bar.
Actually, we were 13, so it was more like walking to 7-11 for Coke Icees on the regular. And Mimi's once when we were having a ladies-who-lunch moment. Their corn chowder has yet to be equaled, in my budget foodie opinion.
I have always been attracted to people who were different from me and these were my closest friends through elementary and middle school. We did theatre together and were in a number of clubs, mainly focused on academics and community service. We had secret Batman-themed nicknames (I was Catwoman, obviously) for passing notes in class. This was before cell phones, y'all. We did splinter off at times and would have our own inside jokes—my Indian friend and I used to refer to ourselves as the Indus Valley Girls. I don't think any of the boys--or some of the teachers--got that one, but it made our moms chuckle. Anyway, even when we would pair off, I don't recall us ever going through a mean girls phase. We all just really liked each other. We were consummate over-achievers, which turned out to be our downfall since we all got into different merit-based high schools. But for a solid six, formative years, they were the best friends a gal could hope for.
Despite our closeness, one quirky thing about the friendship was how infrequently we hung out outside of school. None of us were ever invited to the Jehovah Witness' house, nor was she allowed to visit any of ours. I always thought of her as my closest friend, yet we never once went to the movies, had a sleepover, or celebrated one another’s birthdays. It seems strange in retrospect, but it wasn't at the time. My weekends were spent with my family, many cousins, or the kids of those in my parents' circle of friends. School friends were left at school.
When I went home a few months back, I found a treasure trove of old photos that I’ve only begun sorting. Here's one from the vault:
Embrace the different. Life’s more interesting that way.
Keep on keeping on,