Catherine and I have been friends since we were ten, in 1982. In other words, we've been friends for 31 years. We're together in Nashville this weekend, and we've decided to spend some time looking through old photo albums. Here is a walk through our lives together.
Here we are in 1986, visiting Opryland with my family. We had bought the shirts we're wearing, and on the back of my shirt it says "Ali." On the back of Catherine's shirt it says "Cat." Get it? Ali-Cat? Oh, my god, we thought we were so cool! And please check out our hair, and the fact that I'm wearing make-up.
Okay, this picture's unfair because it's just me, but I had to share it with y'all. Here I am, trying to look sexy and adult. I am 13 in this picture. Now that it's 2013 and I am a sexy adult, I don't go about it this way at all.
This is 1989. A lot had changed. I actually like this picture--we were juniors in high school, and I'd become much more of the person that I am today (no poofy hair, no make-up, had read The Feminine Mystique, was radically opposed to environmental degradation). Catherine, too, was becoming more of the person she is today--I remember her asking me lots of real questions and asking so attentively, so lovingly, to the answers.
This one is from 1994. We went to King's Island together in Cincinnati. It was a rough weekend, in many ways. Looking back, I think, what the hell were we doing? But this picture documents our love for each other (and Catherine's loooong hair, and my huge glasses).
Myrtle Beach, 1999. We wanted to do something before we started real life. Catherine was about to start a new job in Nashville, and I'd just gotten married and finished my Ph.D. Here we are in a photo booth, being goofy before our launch into a new kind of adulthood.
Here we are a decade later, real adults in every sense of the word. Hello, Maybelle! This was in 2009, when Maybelle was eight months old. I have a picture of Catherine holding infant Maybelle, just a few days old, but not one of the two of us together at that time.
And now to today (actually two days ago), in 2013. Can you look at the girls in the first picture and see the two women here?
I find myself wanting to make a list of the things we've been through in those 31 years, but the list would be radically insufficient. So let me just say that we've been through some incredibly wonderful things and some heavy, heavy shit--truly, some of the greatest joys and most profound sorrows that define a human existence--and we've been through it all together.
Look at this woman I have my arm around. I'm so grateful that she's such a crucial, central part of my life, and has been for two thirds of the time I've been alive.