We headed to the mountains this weekend to catch some Virginia history and reconnect with a very dear friend of mine. I was so testy getting us out of the house on Friday afternoon. Time was standing still, and of course there was traffic and rain and a delay in the tunnel. It took forever to get there. When we settled in to the house where we were staying, and I called to say we were on our way, I heard her voice for the first time in twenty-one years. Can you believe it? I get teary thinking about it. Of course I got teary then.
When we finally got to her house, I felt shy and anxious and thrilled and almost desperate. Neel and Callum kept making jokes, "Well, if you haven't seen her in twenty years, I haven't seen her in almost ten." (Callum) "And I haven't seen her in forty." (Neel, always trying to one-up me.) When she came out of her house, called Blue Poplar, and we stood on the sidewalk we laughed and cried all at once, and Callum asked, "Momma, are you crying?" which he always asks, and I wanted to hug her husband as if it had been twenty years since I'd seen him too, even though we'd never met. The magic began right then and lasted right through the weekend.
I know I've been making dating analogies lately (what's up with that?), but you know how it is when you go out to dinner with a new couple and it's so clear that you connect? That you get each other and like the same things and you're laughing and talking all at once like you're just so tickled to be together? That's how this weekend was, but only better, because here we were, twenty years later. And who knew? Who knew that this person who was part and parcel of my childhood would turn out to be someone I'd be so thrilled to know as an adult?
For the longest time I was just going along having fun, and then I walked into their kitchen and saw a grocery list on the fridge. Seeing her handwriting, so instantly familiar, took me straight back into our shared history and settled the import of this moment upon me. I hate to use the word "blessed" because it gets thrown around so much these days. But truly, there's no other word for how I feel right now. Not just blessed that we'd found each other again, but that we like so much who we turned out to be.
Neel said it was the high point of his weekend, meeting her and seeing us together. She sparkles, he told me. For her husband, it was watching us meet again and then part (not "good-bye," just "see you soon"), because we were so happy to be together again.
I'm so happy for her because she clearly has a wonderful life. There may be an appalling lack of bacon in it (at least by my family's standards!), but I couldn't have asked for a better husband for her or more joy. (Plus she has the job I think I want when I grow up, and it took everything I had not to grab her by the ankle and beg her to tell me how to do it. I kinda figured she may not want to talk about work over the weekend, that's just about the only thing that kept me in check...that and so much else to talk about.) Walking through just the tiniest bits of their days filled me with enormous satisfaction. Knowing that she's so close, and that our days can walk along together now, well, that fills me with satisfaction too.
I took these pictures while we were tickling Callum Friday night, but his face pretty much sums up how I felt all weekend long. I wasn't even sad when we left because it was so clear that this was only the beginning.