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Old Friends / Bookends

Suncook Lake, New Hampshire, Summer 2013

Some old friends came to visit me in Boston this past weekend. We may only be in our mid-20s, but we’ve known each other since high school — I’ve known two of the women in this group for more than 15 years. And I’m pretty sure that meets the minimum requirements for old friends.

We grew up in South Kingstown, Rhode Island and we were brought together by honors classes, but we’ve stayed in touch because of Suncook Lake in New Hampshire. There are six of us who have gotten together on this lake most summers since we graduated from high school. There’s no internet at the cabin there and cell service is spotty so we play card games and read romance novels and swim in the lake. A couple of us get weepy every year and talk about how happy we are that we’ve all stayed friends for so long while the others kind of huff and let us hug them.

This past summer, we didn’t go to the lake. Instead we congregated in the White Mountains of New Hampshire while the first of the Suncook girls got married. We always predicted hers would be the first wedding unless any of us married our high school sweethearts. (Thank God none of us did!) We joked that we wished we had gotten to go to Suncook, but we supposed her wedding was a good reason to skip a year.

I think for a while the lake was keeping us together, and I think it will continue to be an important part of our relationships with one another. But weekends like this one make me feel like we’re going to be in each others’ lives for a long time. We’ll be the Suncook girls at each others’ weddings, in each others’ apartments, and on those rare occasions we all find ourselves in our hometown again. And with so much uncertainty in the world right now, I’m thankful for old friends.

Emma Holliday is well-traveled. After 5 years in Boston, she and her husband upended their lives to move to Berlin where she is currently writing a (funny) book about travel and grief and attempting to learn German.

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