Surely you have a friend like her. You know-that one friend who knows where almost ALL of the bodies are buried? I hope you do, anyway. I know my life would not be the same without her.
We met in the tenth grade in biology class. It must have been meant to be, otherwise I would not have met her, because she attended school only when it suited her. It was always a mystery to me how she graduated with as many classes as she missed. She never even took her Biology final exam and she still managed to pass! I can still hear Mrs. Crouch "Stewart-so glad you could grace us with your presence." Then she'd grin, the Purv would grin, I'd grin, and we'd all pick up our scalpels and start whacking away on whichever animal we might be dissecting on that particular day.
She was always one of my biggest cheerleaders. She would listen to me sing my little heart out practicing for auditions for the choir or the traveling glee club, procuring sheet music out of thin air when I needed it. She consoled me when I did not win a place on said glee club team. She listened when I cried over boys who had broken my heart, and laughed to beat hell with me when I'd think I'd made a funny. She had a car, so she'd pick me up and drive me fifteen miles out of town to buy me the best snow cone on the coast, or we'd go riding around and pick out a car at random and just follow it (yes, there may have been some sort of BUZZ going at the time, but it was FUN) everywhere it went to see how paranoid we could make the driver, then as they'd pull into a driveway, we would sail past, congratulating each other on how cool we were. It still amazes me that we were never arrested.
We went to different colleges, but kept contact through letters-the old fashioned kind, where you sat down with a pencil or pen and wrote stuff down on paper without editing it fifteen times (although an erasure here and there was acceptable) before you hit send i.e. stuck it in an envelope and put a stamp on it and high tailed it to the post office to stick it in a mailbox. We didn't see each other much, but we still talked about getting an apartment together when we were done with school.
My life took a different direction, however. I was too young at 16 to go off to school with no supervision, and I wasted a lot of opportunities and advantages I had, and was back home and working before my sophomore year was over. When she came home from school, she found a tiny little house and made it her own, the first in a series of little Dar houses, which were to be my refuge for the next several years, through a few boyfriends and my first marriage. She was always there for me and never judged me, even when I kept going back to my abusive husband knowing that he was not going to-that he couldn't-change. I was so needy back then, it amazes me that she stuck by me. She was at the hospital when my oldest son was born, and was so proud you'd have thought she'd just had him herself.
There came a point, though, where she did some soul searching and realized that though I wasn't trying to, unwittingly I was holding her back, and she decided that she needed to leave the area. She moved to Florida, found another little Dar house, and set up housekeeping there. Again, we kept in touch through letters, but pretty much ten years passed before we saw each other again, at my second wedding.
We've always had one of those friendships where we can just pick right up where we left off even if years had passed, and that was the case here. For the next-holychitcanthisberight?-SEVENTEEN YEARS-we saw each other sporadically, sometimes several times in a month, sometimes once every two or three years. We were both working, and between work, kids and husband, I just didn't do too much socializing or working on relationships other than my family's. But this past year, since I've been 'retired', we have rekindled our friendship and we are right back where we started out. BFFFL's.
She is a great friend. She knows that when the Innocent Bystander is home, he is always going to take priority, and she knows he is high maintenance. And she knows I am unreliable under the best of circumstances. She still seems to heart me, though, warts and all.
She invited me over last month when the IB was doing a 'drink till we puke' night with a friend of his. This was shortly after I'd started this blog (when I was doing my initial pondering of ethical blogging), and I told her I'd come, but that I had some things I wanted to talk to her about. She knew I was blogging by this point-PlungerGirl had just taken pity on me and given me my first break and Dar was as excited as I was, if not moreso.
I got to the Mole Hole (as she calls her dark, cold but everso comfy apartment) in the late afternoon and she had already gone all Martha Stewart on my ass. She had the bar outside by the pool set with purty plates and napkins, had steaks marinating, taters cooking and a fire laid out in her firepit for later in the evening. She always makes these wonderful big girl drinks full of fresh fruits and veggies, and on this particular evening she'd crafted us some very tasty bloody marys to go with our dinner. We had a lovely meal, then went out and lit the fire as darkness started to fall.
I started out talking about how excited I was that someone was at least reading this crap and about how writing has taken over my entire brain. I told her about how my mind has been wandering in the middle of conversations, and about how you never could tell if I was really paying attention anymore or if I was toying with words in my head and just nodding and making polite little I'm listening noises. Then I got to the meat of the matter.
I said "You know, this blog has taken a different turn than I intended. I've already talked to the Unit (at that point, he had not yet put his foot down about his 'handle') about it, and he doesn't have a problem with me talking about things like our sex life. But you know, you are a big part of my life, and you know that eventually I'm going to want to talk about you. Are you going to have a problem with that?" She kind of looked at me sideways and said "What do you mean?" I said "Well, the sexuality issue for one thing. I mean, you're not going to get pissed off if I out you or anything, are you?" She got very quiet and thought about it for a minute, looked deep into my eyes across the fire, and said "Honey, there is nothing you can say that enough money and weed won't fix." Then she perked up and said "Hey, I can be your Gayle." I looked at her with a puzzled expression on my face and she said "You know, Oprah's best friend, Gayle King? I can be your Gayle."
Now is that a friend, or what?