Friends #59: Michele (and Aaron)

Michele ended up being another friend I ditched for Bono, so we only had about 20 minutes together early on Monday morning, July 18th, while she packed to leave town for work.  This picture was taken with her boyfriend Aaron in front of the  house they just bought.  The 20 minutes did include enough time for a grand tour.

We didn’t mind getting such a short time together because I’d just seen Michele and Aaron in San Diego the weekend before I left for the trip.  They were running the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon, and I went down to cheer them on.  It was Aaron’s goal to finish the marathon (his first) and Michele’s to run the entire time, and they both did it!

Team in Training was an essential part of their preparation and support before and during the race.  For the short time that I ran beside each of them, their purple shirts evoked the Team in Training cheers “C’mon Team! Keep it going Team!” from the crowd.  There were Team in Training coaches stationed all along the race checking in with the runners and talking them through the course.  Before the race, there was a carb-loading pasta dinner for 15,000 Team in Training participants.  Team in Training provides a huge sense of support and community while pushing people toward a common goal of completing races and raising funds for leukemia and lymphoma.

If you see purple, it's Team in Training. Mile 25.

Aaron and Michele after completing the marathon.

Before Michele had the community of Team in Training, we were part of the same group of friends in junior high.  Michele rode horses competitively at that time and was supremely talented.  She would be gone at horse shows for 6 weeks at a time and she selected me, nerd that I am, to take notes for her and record the classes on a micro-cassette recorder (remember those?).  We wrote letters (remember those?) to each other when we would send the tapes back and forth.  So from the beginning, Michele and I were able to maintain a friendship long-distance.

Michele and I stayed friends through high school, though we were in different groups, she closer with non-band kids Olivia, Mindy, and Mark, and I closer with band kids Janise and Susan.  It was during high school that Michele perfected her unmatchable talent for making mix tapes.  I still wish I had a tape player because those things were so well-crafted.

We were both in the right place at the right time and in the right life circumstance to rekindle our friendship.   We had lost touch at some point during college.  Then, when I was home when my mom was sick, Michele was going through a tough time as well, and we really leaned on each other.  We cried a lot.  We distracted ourselves a lot.  And this was after I hadn’t seen or talked to her in about 10 years.  Now she is someone I see every time I go home.  She and Aaron will show me someplace fun in a neighborhood in St. Louis I haven’t been to and we’ll end up schmoozing with some stranger or waiter or bartender.  Surprisingly, I am not the most extroverted in our little trio.  That prize goes to Aaron, who has always been so easy to get to know and be around because of that very characteristic.

Michele only joined Facebook in the past few months after resisting for a very long time.  She warmed up to social networking by joining Twitter with just a few other friends all following each other–almost like a group chat.  I would have visited Michele even if she weren’t on Facebook, because she would have added an interesting perspective as an anomaly, but really, I would have visited her because she is one of my dearest lifelong friends.  As is the case with technology, our hand-written letters from junior high have transformed into Tweets, wall posts, and text messages, but we haven’t lost our knack for staying close over time and distance.

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