Eleven years ago, I was working as the teller manager in a Virginia banking center. A young man– younger than me, and I was only in my mid-20s– walked in and asked to go to his safe deposit box. I took him and we chatted. He told me that his fiancee worked for the same company, but that she was out in San Diego. She’d be moving to Virginia with him after the wedding.
“Well,” I remarked with a smile, “if she wants a job when she gets here, have her come in and see me. We could always use good tellers!”
A few months later, we hired her. Her name was Jessica. (She was the third Jessica we had at that office.)
At that time, we’d been married for a year. We were still fairly new to the Virginia Beach area and we didn’t have a lot of friends yet. Most of the people we met who were our age were either 1) single and living with their parents or 2) in the military and already had a couple of kids. There was nothing wrong with either of those scenarios and we were most certainly friends with people in both categories but the fact remained– we weren’t in the same season.
I got to know Jess better over the next couple weeks, but I wouldn’t say we spent a lot of time chatting, really. We were at work, after all, and it was a busy, busy center. Jess’s husband (whom I had actually met before her, if you recall) was named Scott. All I could really say at that point was that they both seemed like decent people. They were also newly married, new to the area, and didn’t yet have children.
On a whim, I told my husband I was going to invite them to dinner one Saturday night.
They accepted the invitation and I cooked a Mexican feast. In retrospect, cooking Mexican food for a couple of native San Diego folks was perhaps risky, but I didn’t realize that and I guess I didn’t offend them terribly– they wound up staying past two in the morning as we laughed and played a crazy card game called Flux.
They invited us to their apartment the next Saturday. And, from then on? Well, we were pretty much an inseparable group. So precious and rare is it to find couple friends where each person truly enjoys all the others. It brought me great joy to see our husbands connect and Jess and I got along smashingly.
We spent holidays together. Weekends. Ordered pizza and sat in a heap watching the premier of CSI. We went on home tours together. Saw The Nutcracker. Shared meal after meal after meal.
And then, one day, I told them I was expecting.
They were the first to buy a gift for our unborn baby. Jess hosted my shower. Scott agreed to share the weird pizza combos I was craving with me. I fell asleep on their couch more times than I can count as pregnancy exhaustion overtook me.
And, when A. was born, Jess was the first to visit us in the hospital. She brought Taco Bell for my husband because he hadn’t eaten for so very long and didn’t want to leave me.
When our baby boy was only four months old, we tearfully told our friends goodbye. I was devastated to leave them. Honestly, they were what we loved most about Virginia and they had already played a big role in A’s life, too.
Scott is tall and A. loved it when he would hold him. It’s like he got a whole new perspective up there. Plus, Scott is one of those naturally calm and fun men that babies and children seem to enjoy. Jess spoiled A. rotten by stocking their apartment with baby things the way a very doting aunt might.
Anyway, we moved to Indiana and things quickly spiraled out of control with my near-miscarriage, the loss of my father-in-law, unemployment, and a baby born four months too soon.
In short? Years passed.
It had been nine years.
We had had two more babies.
A. was fifty pounds heavier.
And three feet taller.
Last week, while on vacation on the Carolina shore, Scott and Jess came to see us.
They came on Wednesday and we wondered what it would be like. Would we still connect? So much time had passed.
It was just like it had always been. And you know what? They made the three hour drive again that Saturday.
We laughed. And laughed. And laughed some more.
Couple friends like that are true treasures, indeed.
We’re all determined not to let another nine years go by.