She’s been my friend for eons, and she’s ancient. She’s 16 years my senior. But ours is a friendship that defies age and absence. In fact, if there is ever truth in the idiom that absence makes the heart grow fonder, then we are the living proofs of it.

We became friends in 1994. At that time I was just starting a career in my hometown. My hometown, her turf. See, I left the place after high school, and she chose the time I was away to establish her medical practice there. By the time I came back, she’s already the number one family doctor in the province. And I was almost a stranger.

We were introduced by a common friend, another ancient one that I may write about next time, and we hit it right off from the get-go. She was amused by the way I dressed for comfort, and in the process I created my own fashion. I would ride the bike to the office, wearing long skirts and boots. I would dress my hair with scarves, and I would wear dangling earrings made of bamboo, or shells, or horsehair. I loved the ethnic look. I still do. The same way she does.

What I really admired about her was the way she ran her household. They were a couple of doctors, but they never had a househelp. She did everything. She had help from Uncle Sam (I call him that, or Doc Sam), who was at that time the only anestheseologist within a five-hour drive radius, and the kids, of course. I saw her as superwoman. Doing laundry, cooking, keeping house, maintaining a garden, and as if housechores were not enough, she also made her own quilts, and decorated her house with her framed cross-stitch projects. She had this curtain in her clinic made of flour sacks, but you would never think of it as that, coz she had it lined with a fabric with cross stitches on it. She is just the most creative science person I’ve ever had the major luck of being friends with. And you should see her trellis.

We had fun for 3 years. Then I had to leave again. Work brought me back, and work took me away again. And then I got married, had kids, and here I am, a WAHM, in another province, and she’s still busy with her medical practice in my hometown. I see her once a year, when I have to go there and pay real property taxes. And the sweet part is that, we just always pick up where we left off. Each time we get together, our time apart just fades away. We sometimes talk on the phone, or send e-mails. I miss her. She’s been a great influence. I sew my own curtains, too. By hand.