Eyes with which to see

It takes a long time to grow an old friend.

-John Leonard

We offer one another our “cheaters” to read menus these days.  After nearly fifty years of friendship from elementary school through emptied nests, it has finally come to this for all of us.  We are no longer girls, but moles. Or maybe we are bats.

Well, at least I am. I cannot wear my newest pair of bifocals to work on my laptop unless I want to rest my laptop on my chest.  My old pair of bifocals allows me put the computer on my lap where it belongs. Although I can see most other things more clearly with the new pair, I’m constantly searching for the older pair when it comes to working or writing. It gets worse. In order to drive in sunshine, I need to switch to a pair of old glasses I had tinted with lenses that are only supposed to darken in sunlight. The darn things don’t go back to clear until it is nearly time to go back outside which pretty much defeats the purpose of lenses that darken automatically if you ask me. I have to close one eye to read the time on the clock radio by the bed. Don’t ask me why that works. Without my bifocals, I can’t see a darn thing up close, but I can still see a turtle in the road a quarter of a mile ahead of me and pass the eye exam without any glasses when I get my license renewed. Go figure. All I know is that I took my eyes for granted until they went to pot.

I’m glad my old friends’ eyes aren’t any better than mine.  It allows us all to see each other and ourselves more gently than we ever did as girls or younger women. We take better care of each other now. Our scars and the laugh lines around our eyes tell our stories for us. The memories of who we were as girls are precious. Much of what we thought we knew for sure then has blurred with time. This is good. We were too sure for our own good anyway. That’s what we tell each other over dinner and glasses of wine.

It is good, at this age, to squint at menus and giggle like the school girls we were so long ago. To pass the cheaters across the table. To order more wine and linger over it just because we can. To be glad to share time with old friends.

Grateful, in the fifth decade of our lives, for the softened edges of our friendship.


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