I didn’t know I would cry.
I knew I would laugh, I knew we would tell stories, and I knew I would eat Maryland Steamed crabs. But I wasn’t prepared to cry.
We hadn’t seen each other since high school. (Technically it was our tenth reunion, but I don’t remember a single moment from THAT, and I wasn’t even drinking vodka then.) We were very best friends all through junior high, but our athletic and musical paths took us in other directions. We remained friends from a distance, and I always remembered that she had a true and pure heart.
She opened the door after I called her from the driveway. We looked at each other for just a moment, and as we reached for an embrace there were no words. There ARE no words when a heart is reconnecting with another…especially after both hearts had endured such tremendous loss.
We stood in the foyer holding each other and the tears began to flow. (You know when you start crying and then you know that at any moment you might just start to sob? You have to swallow that sob several times before you can regain your composure. It was that kind of crying. )
We stepped back, wiping our eyes and laughing at the same time.
We were the women our mothers could have been. The women they were meant to be, the women they hoped we would be. We were the women that, until now, had escaped the cruel hands of the reaper.
Our mothers were not as fortunate.
We took deep breaths and plunged into a grand pool of remembrance. We took my bags to the guest room, fixed cocktails and strolled the house, the yard and our lives. We had hours and hours that night to begin to unravel our tales. We took deep breaths only when we needed refreshers and food- and even then continued our tales.
We skipped from one event to another, neither of us finding it unusual or strange. (Which clearly explains why we were such good friends.) We laughed and laughed, and then spent some time wondering about the beautiful coincidences in life.
She shared the story about how she stumbled upon my blog and discovered, through some great detective work (haha) that all along she was reading the words of one of her dear friends. (I was going to say oldest, but that made us sound so damn, oh, OLD.)
And then she asked me the question. “So, D., tell me about the book.”
I smiled. “I finished it!! Last week I added the last bit- sent it to my editor, got it back, made changes and I’m ready to self-publish!”
“And?” She said. “What’s stopping you from pressing publish?”
“Well, “ I started. I was about to say something about waiting on word from an agent, or waiting for the ONE more chapter I want to add, or waiting for hell to freeze over… but instead I said, “I don’t really know.”
She looked thoughtful for a moment, and then said this. “I think you’re scared. You’re scared of success. You know exactly what to do when you fail. You are very good at picking yourself up when you get knocked down."
I looked at her in wonder.
“You are an amazing writer. You can do anything you want with it and finishing this is just the beginning. Now, you know how to pick yourself up. Hit publish, and then get ready to figure out what to do when you soar.”
And with that we sat in our chairs in the moonlight, took a sip of our cocktails and smiled.
And in that moment life was bright and beautiful. As beautiful as it was in our youth- when our necks were firm and spot free, our joints didn’t ache, and our hearts were free from scars. Back when we were young, and our best friends knew just the right time to kick someone’s ass.