When I was younger, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, MaGen and Big Daddy. I enjoyed sleeping over and hanging with them, and I did it often because we lived around the corner from each other. On Friday nights, Gen and I watched all of our favorite shows: Maude, The Equalizer, Archie Bunker, The Jefferson’s and The Golden Girls. I was particularly fond of The Golden Girls because I loved the relationship between Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia. No matter what, they always had each other’s back, and I can remember thinking how much I hoped to have a group of friends like that one day.
My freshman year at Prep was easy breezy because my cousin Nikki, who was a year older, was already there. At first, her friends became my friends. Even though I had been at a magnet school for three years prior to high school, many of my Corpus Christi Elementary School friends were at Prep as well, so the minute I instantly felt at home. Most of the girls at school caught the Magazine St. bus to get home, unless they lived within walking distance or had a ride. Meeting up with friends at the bus stop was the highlight of most days. “Meet me at the bus stop,” is what you would hear one girl tell another as everyone dispersed to their 4th period class after lunch. It was a time where we could relax and unwind after a long day at school. Everyone rushed to get a coveted spot at the front of the line to hold a seat on the bus for your friend. Often times, my parents picked me up, so I missed out on the fun early on. Once they were comfortable with me catching the bus with a family friend named J’val, who was a Senior and also lived in the East, they allowed me to ride. Can you imagine preferring to ride the RTA bus, rather than riding in the comfort of your own car? Makes no sense to me now, but it was everything back then.
By the time J’val graduated, my parents allowed me to continue riding the bus with Nikki. The “Magazine” bus took us from Magazine St. and Soniat St., down to Canal St. Getting to Canal was where the real fun happened because we met up with friends and kids from other schools. Canal St. was always full of characters, from the C.D. guy to the dude who sold the “smell good” oils. To this day, I can spot Egyptian Musk from a mile away. I also remember buying my first bootleg c.d. on Canal. It was a Naughty by Nature c.d. because OPP and Hip Hop Hooray was hot. After wearing the c.d. out for a solid week, but my dad heard the lyrics and confiscated it because they were too explicit. Easy come, easy go.
Nikki’s friend, Rianna lived in the East as well, so after we having fun down Canal and getting sweets in Krauss, we’d ride together the rest of the way home. From that point, we became great friends. Re and I have had more phone conversations, more sleepovers, more nights out, more laughs, more cries and more good times than I can count. I value her friendship not just because she’s one of my oldest and dearest friends, but I value our friendship because she’s a wonderful person. I didn’t realize a daily bus ride home from school would turn into a lifelong friendship, but life is full of surprises.
Now that I’m a wife and mom, I don’t have the same amount of time to dedicate to myself or my friends as I had in the past. I do, however, have a core group of girlfriends, who I can call on at an time of day or night, and they can do the same, and we will be there for one another. I call them my “sisters”, because that’s what they are, even though we aren’t biologically related. I met Kay and Lametrious through my good friend, Yashica (Shica). Even though Shica is from New Orleans, she and I met in law school. She and I had a mutual friend, Angela, so she was a part of the group of us who would study and hang out together for down time. Our friendship grew throughout the years, even after I left law school, and her friendship was particularly special to me because not many people I considered friends in law school stayed in contact with me after I left. Since leaving law school left me in a fragile state, it was a time when I needed friends the most, and Yashica was the only person who was there. She introduced me to Kay and Lametrious, two of her girlfriends, who were wives and mothers also. I feel like we’re our own “Wives” club, because our relationship allows us to be ourselves, outside the role of wives and mothers. We are a group of smart, intelligent, beautiful women, and we are there to lift each other, share “best practices” in parenting, vent about our better-half’s (but that hardly ever happens), and we enjoy getting together when everyone has the time. We talk about places we want to go and things we want to do, and I am grateful for them.
I could never repay them for how they enrich my life, for the moments we pray for each other and our families, for the ear we lend to each other, for the wisdom we share and the laughter and love we bring to each other. My friends are gems…my sisters, and the only way I can repay them for everything they are in my life is to be for them what they are to me .
To all of my friends, and more specifically, Rianna, Yashica, Kay and Lametrious…Thank you for being a friend.