In the summer of 1995, my best friends and I piled our belongings into bags and took the ferry from Woods Hole, Massachusetts over to a little island called Martha’s Vineyard. I never knew who Martha was or what her vineyard looked like, but I knew that I loved the island and that I loved my friends.
Last week these same friends organized a trip back to Martha’s Vineyard; it had been fourteen years. A lot happens in fourteen years. From the start I knew that this time my stay on the island would be different. When I lived there, four of us shared a small home on the outskirts of Edgartown that had spotty electricity, little to no water pressure, and a total square footage of about 800 feet. It was pure bliss. This time however, my girlfriends and I were responsible enough to be trusted with one of our parents’ summer cottage. This would never have happened in 1995. The cottage was comfortable, well-appointed, warm, and best of all, five or six times bigger than our 800 foot shack.
The weekend was emotional. There were stories about children, sickness, frustration, and stress. We shared our hopes and our fears, our disappointments and our regrets. Most interestingly, our roles and personalities as teenagers were with us there as adults. As we told stories and reminisced about taking the ladies room sign out of a fraternity or having an impromptu Monday night girls party that became a weekly event, our age settled around us. Did we look old now? Was it obvious that so many years had passed between now and those times we were laughing about? Had we done what we set out to do? Were we the women we wanted to be?
The best part of this reunion was the realization of what solid friends I have. I am often lonely in Los Angeles. It’s a city with busy people who live far apart, all with their own daytime dramas. Seeing my girlfriends, friends whom I’ve had now since 1993, reminded me that I’m not alone in this big world. Somebody is witnessing my life and making sure I matter even if it’s just a little bit. On my way home, eager to see Sam and the dogs, I decided I loved Martha’s Vineyard just as much now as before. It was different and it had aged the same way that we had, but it was still a good place to be.