Lena Dunham, friendship pundit of our time, published an essay about childhood in The New Yorker, which begins with therapy, ends with therapy, but middles with friendship.
In a previously described buddies-meet-cute (with obstacles and a rewarding payoff), Dunham first saw Audrey Gelman in the elevator outside her therapist’s office, and quickly realized Gelman was her therapist’s daughter. Dunham writes:
I leave the office a beat before they do, but they catch up with me at the elevator, and I’m holding my breath as we ride down together, trying to somehow take her in without looking directly at her. I wish she were a picture in a magazine, so I could stare, rotate the page slightly, stare again …
Through shrewd detective work, Audrey discovers that her camp friend Sarah is my school friend Sarah, and begins passing me notes. They are fat envelopes, decorated with puff paint and star stickers. Inside the first one is a letter, in the kind of fun teen scrawl they use in “Saved by the Bell”: “HEY YOU SEEM AWESOME! I bet we’d get along. My mom says we would if we could meet. I love shopping, the Felicity soundtrack, oh, and shopping. Here’s a pic of me at the Wailing Wall after my Bat Mitzvah! INSTANT MESSAGE MEEEE.”
I write back an equally effusive note, laboring over which picture to share, before finally settling on a shot of me lounging on my sister’s bunk bed in a vintage crop top that reads “Super Debbie.” “I also luuuv the Felicity soundtrack, animals, acting, and DUH SHOPPING! My screen name is LAFEMMELENA.”
What a good screen name! Once an wordsmith, always a wordsmith.