Best Noise in the World: The Soundtrack of Friendship

(Originally published September 28, 2013)

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The house we’re sharing with 10 of our closest Whitman friends (plus kids) is filled with enthusiastic conversations and laughter all layered over each other and stretching from room to room. I can pick out one voice from the other and hear the smiles in the stories.

I now know the beautiful finer details of my friends’ lives: that Tim is called Papa, Magill is Mama Gil, Priscilla is Gram. Am I “Auntie Lawson” or “Auntie Erin”? Or will I be “Auntie Elephant” to my friends’ kids as I am to my bio-nieces and -nephews?

The energy in each room ebbs and flows as little ones crawl in and out, their little faces shedding pure light into the room and then their little diapered bottoms scooting out again. I chuckle every time Susan says, “Who’s got eyes on Elliot?” Little Zaidy gives amazing hugs, burrowing into me even though this is our first meeting.

The weather here is dark and gloomy and rainy—the opposite of the email we all received from the college saying it was expected to be gorgeous and sunny during the days but chilly at night. Very few of us dressed appropriately and it’s just one more thing to laugh about.

Last night we pulled up pictures from our last reunion and realized that Tim was wearing the same long-sleeved shirt as he’d been wearing five years ago. We got no end of laughs about that. Makes me feel better about the fact that my two go-to long-sleeved shirts are from soccer in high school (putting them at about 20 years old). Emo said, “We literally never go shopping for clothes,” and I appreciated all over again that I am once again with my people.

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