Yesterday I got to spend the afternoon with an old friend who’s in town from California. Old friend, like we saw Tori Amos back when she toured Little Earthquakes. A tiny theater, so close we could touch her. She hit a high note in “Silent All These Years” and blew the speaker.
This friend, we go long stretches of time without seeing each other, but we always circle back–in LA, in New Orleans, in the Berkshires, at home in Connecticut–and it’s the same, no matter how much time has passed. The older I get, the more I recognize these friendships as rare gifts. The ease of being with someone who knows you deeply over almost a lifetime.
She asks me the right questions, the ones that make me think. It’s just a matter of conversation really, but always ends up meaning more. She is a person of action, a person who says, just do it. That’s what she’s telling me after I mention grad school. She asks about my reservations. And I hear myself say the words, I don’t know if I can bet on myself.
I’ve been turning that over again and again. Of course, it’s more complicated than that. But there it is again, the echo of doubt. Important to recognize it, and tell it to pipe down.
Yesterday afternoon I pulled into the driveway to find my best friend lying on the wicker couch on my front porch. I’d gotten a text from her, “You have the best front porch ever!” And I’d written back, “Stay! I’ll be there in 2 seconds!”
I raced home, afraid I would miss her, but of course, there she was, completely relaxed and waiting for us.
She’s in town from Santa Fe, and I’ve been counting the days until her arrival.
Best friends since we were seven years old. We know each other’s many selves, every version since second grade. And when we’re together it’s always, always the same.
My daughter runs to her as if they’ve known each other ten thousand lifetimes. Amidst flying garden dirt and giggling and play dough and yoga poses, my friend and I talk and talk and talk and talk and never stop talking. There is so much to catch up on, and also this is just how it is when we’re together. Our conversation overlaps, crisscrosses, doubles back.
Being together restores me to myself. Instant happiness. Because she is a light so bright, so bright.
We stayed up talking until 11pm. When she kissed her niece goodnight she said, “Every day is going to be the best day ever!”
And she’s right. Every day while she’s here is the best day ever.
Oh this Cape Cod weather… crisp salt air, clean blue sky, conjures the carefree days of my early twenties with my best friends in Provincetown. I can feel us waking in the same room, bleary and laughing, splashing cold water on our faces and heading out for iced coffee. Wandering Commercial Street in the too-bright sun. Packing up for the beach, or heading out to the point on the boat. Diving into icy waves, lying on the warm sand. Evening of oysters and soft-shelled crabs and too many vodka sodas, dancing to jukebox music, wandering to the sandy alleyway down to the bayside beach or jumping in someone’s Jeep with an oversand pass and heading out to the dunes in the fog to find the water lit up phosphorescent as if all the stars had fallen into the ocean. Someone’s playing guitar. The damp air curls our hair as we wade through the dark into the bright water.