Out of the blue and unusually pleasant summer day, I got a phone call from an old friend, Elaine. I hadn’t heard from her in years. I do remember when I first moved back to my hometown I had left a message for her, but that was quite a while back. I didn’t think she would call back…I hadn’t kept in touch with her…maybe a few irregularly mailed Christmas cards or letters over the many years since college.
Elaine was always easy to talk to. I never felt out of place to plant a huge hug on her when we were in near proximity no matter how many years it had been. This time it was a phone call. After the shock of hearing her voice, we fell into the “catching-up game” like old pros without any awkward pauses. Both of us older, wiser, and with the “warranty” lapsing on similar body parts.
If I remember right, I met Elaine in a feminist art class in the mid 70’s. I was so use to “way-too-serious-art-students” who needed desperately to get a sense of humor (and probably get laid as well)…I think it was because I was one. She was this naturally beautiful girl with so much talent, intelligence & humor. I was drawn to her. We became fast friends & roommates & nabbed the best apartment in town. Though our living together was short & wonderful it ended I think because I returned to being a “way-too-serious-art-student-without-a-sense-of-humor”…if I was her I would have left sooner than later, but she stayed long enough to get me back from “the dark side” and for that I will always be grateful.
Do you remember that beach scene on “Sex in the City”…where Sarah Jessica Parker is throwing up on the beach and her friend is holding back her hair?? Even though she’s successful and looking beautiful in her designer clothes, a chance meeting of Mr. Big & his 20-something fiancée forces her to see what a fool she is…and though it’s been obvious to her friend who doesn’t say “I told you so”, but stays to hold back her hair and wash her friends’ face. In my case it was a half-ass attempt of an overdose. Though not lethal it kept me up all night in a drunken state with my legs cramping. Elaine massaged my legs all night to relieve the pain & watched over me when I was finally able to sleep.
I don’t know if Elaine will call back. If the talk about seeing each other again was like those chance meetings you have with acquaintances where you say “let’s do lunch” and never do. I use to think that I had to keep in touch with friends all the time to be “real friends”, but as I get older I don’t think there is a rule. Elaine will always be my friend (in my heart & mind). For a brief moment in time, she shared her laughter & tears with me. My only regret is that I feel she gave me more…more than I can ever give back.