After All These Years
I met Joan, the person who would be my best friend for the next twenty years, the first morning I played outside my family’s new California home.  I was five years old.  We became inseparable childhood friends, and we remained close, even (45) though we attended different high schools and colleges.
Joan enjoyed jogging and painting cityscapes. I (46) loved hiking trips and writing. We shared an appreciation of the outdoors and a passion for our creative work. More importantly though (47) we enjoyed being together. Through our history of shared experiences, we formed a rare understanding of each other.
 Last February, I had to travel to Fairbanks, Alaska, for my work.  Though we had rarely spoken to each other in fifteen years, when I called Joan to suggest a meeting, her voice sounded wonderfully familiar. (48)  Through my parents, whom (49) were still in touch with Joan’s father, I (50) learned that Joan was currently living in Fairbanks. (51)
I parked my rental car in downtown Fairbanks, and to keep the battery from freezing, I plugged the engine into an electrical outlet in the parking lot so the battery would stay warm. (52) It was twenty below zero that afternoon, and the sky shon (53) with a pale gray light. (54) I called Joan from a pay phone. She soon met me on a street corner that was close to her art studio.
As we walked upstairs to her studio, we slipped into (55) our familiar habits, talking about the people in our lives and our work. We talked just as easily as we had in the past, when we would sit in the field behind Joan’s house atop the rabbit hutch (56) and discuss our friends and our hopes for the future When I saw Joan’s new paintings, I immediately remembered her distinct way of emphasizing shadows and light. I remembered everything about her: how she would get so absorbed in (57) her work that she’d forget to eat, how she disliked talking in the morning, how she was firm in (58) her decisions. The years of separation had not affected the heart of our connection, our friendship (59).
F. NO CHANGE