There are these girls I know: six of them. I’ve known them for years. We have a nickname: CTF. We’ve never told anyone what our acronym stands for; not even our husbands. We met in college at Ohio University. Then, we were eighteen; now, we’re all over thirty. This weekend, we will converge upon Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville better be prepared.
Ohio University is one of the most infamous party schools in the country. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. The Princeton Review ranks party schools based on surveys of 122,000 students during the last school year. We’re ranked, this year, at number three, thanks in part to our irreverent Halloween celebration. Every Halloween since 1974, the city doubles in size. The main drag, known as Court Street, closes down. It is a street party that rivals Mardi Gras.
Coming from a party school is only a fragment of CTF’s binding factor. When the seven of us met, we really had very little in common. We came from very different backgrounds. For instance, I went to public school in the Midwest, which meant I’d been drinking since eighth grade. Two of my gal pals attended an all-girls Catholic school, which meant drinking was like a shiny, new, favorite toy. One of the CTF clan even came to us from Florida. Poor girl; talk about culture shock!
Yet, we found each other. We thrived. Some years, we lived together. Some years, we didn’t. Yet, there were the parties. There were the bars. There were hung-over breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. It was like there was a huge magnet above OU that kept us coming back to each other. Apparently, that magnet spreads across the entire United States, because this weekend, we reunite for CTF 2013.
I live furthest away, which sucks. Some of my girls get to live in the same city as each other (Charlotte and Cincinnati). They get to spend as much time together as they want, dang it; meanwhile, I’m out here in Arizona, present only via email and the occasional Skype. Well, no longer. This weekend, I will give out copious hugs. I will lift my glass in celebration. I will be back with my girls.
The fact is we’re older. We’re married. We have kids (or dogs). We no longer drink twelve beers in one sitting or play the infamous “Drinking Jenga.” Yet, when we’re together, it’s as if nothing has changed. No time has passed. Do you have friends like that? I hope so.
There’s something magical about my girls. When we’re back together, we don’t miss a beat. There is very little talk of our jobs. Very few questions like, “So what have you been up to?” Instead, we dive right in.
We rehash the time Caroline broke the table in Cornwell. We recall the time Katie tried to escape our apartment on her twenty-first birthday because she wanted to DRINK MORE. The time I broke my foot while camping. The time Megan wrapped herself in toilet paper in Washington Hall. Kari and Nicole’s “Toxic” dance. I’m sure we’ll even fondly recall the naked, dancing man who used to do cartwheels on his roof across from our apartment on Court Street.
This weekend, I’ll be in Nashville with women who changed—and saved—my life at Ohio University. Women who I have no fear of losing, because I know they’ll always be there. Even if we don’t see each other for a couple years, we’ll still be CTF: a title once earned and kept for life.