“Your ‘once in a lifetime friend’ only comes around once in a lifetime…”
It is amazing to me how you can fall into friendship with someone in a matter of minutes whereas you can strive for years to become close with others to no avail. Canadian Carla came into my life with the force of a Tasmanian devil and left as quiet as the surf of the Pacific Ocean on a calm day. She left, however, an indelible mark on my life and my journey that I will never forget.
I was studying abroad in Australia and had recently been abandoned by my pot smoking basketball partner in favor of a more leafy substance. I knew that Carla had mentioned in passing that she would be interested in playing basketball some day. I battled with myself with whether or not I should ask her to play. I didn’t want her to say no, because I disliked having my overtures at friendship being rejected. However, I told myself, I was studying abroad, halfway around the world, and I was not going to be the same girl who waited for things to happen to her. With that determination, I walked up to her door and knocked. Please be home… or not… All of the sudden, she answered the door. I timidly asked if she would be interested in playing basketball. Please say yes… Please say yes… I willed as I waited for her response. “Sure! “ She said with a smile. Off we went, and the rest, as they say, was history. Before I knew it, we were playing basketball almost every day, challenging the Australians to a game of soccer… sorry… ‘football,’ and learning to play rugby.
Even the most mundane activities began to take on an aura of mystery. We decided to go to a soccer game and it turned into an unforgettable adventure of cheering for the wrong team on the wrong side of the stands, followed by a harrowing walk through the creepiest neighborhoods that Canberra, Australia had to offer. We then ran all the way to the movies and slid into the theater just in time for the show. We were alone in our adventure because no one else thought we could accomplish all of our goals in such a short time, but with Carla, you could accomplish pretty much anything you set your mind to.
Carla was the kind of girl who liked to sit in the front of the theater so she feels like she is part of the action. She was the kind of girl that you take to a bar and within minutes you are leading an entire drunken rugby team in song. She was the kind of girl that could convince us that taking a cab the 4 miles between the Sydney Opera House and our hostel wasn’t necessary. Instead, we danced our way back home, stopping in every club and dancing for 30 minutes and then heading to the next club. It took four hours, but was the best walk home I have ever had. If the party started at 9, we were at her house at 8, taking turns performing concerts with hairbrushes as our microphones.
She lived everyday to the fullest, and when you were with her, you did too. Once we got back from Australia we tried to keep in touch, but our friendship eventually fell away. She was a whirlwind, her own type of Tasmanian devil and truly, a once in a lifetime kind of friend.