Saturday, June 07, 2014

ancient beads and old friends

We met by the clock in Grand Central Station yesterday evening, in the midst of the rushing Friday night post-work crowds.  She was wearing these beautifully bright and simple beaded necklaces, white and blue and yellow and green and all the colors of the rainbow. I complimented her on them and she just looked at me, surprised, and laughed, and said, "Emma, you made these for me!"

As soon as she said it, of course, it all came rushing back: that year or so in high school of obsessively stringing beads and crocheting skull caps (mostly burgundy and, of course, black). And I couldn't believe that she still had these necklaces, tucked away somewhere safe for over twenty years. She looked beautiful and happy in a flirty summery outfit and those bright and cheerful beads, and it felt indescribably warm -- this realization that she'd saved them all this time.

What's magical and heartbreaking in the world so often revolves around the waxing and waning of relationships. I've written a lot over the years about the waning part of things, have perhaps (some would say definitely) wallowed more than is helpful in the endings of things. But lately, over this past year, these past few months, even just this past week, I've found myself reveling at the pure good fortune of having the people that I have in my life.

Erica and the fact that despite long stretches of little communication, somehow our conversations and letters always feel, to me, deeply connected.

Jill and our sometimes prickly but life-long love for each other.

Nick and his willingness to accompany me to random dinners and random parties and weekly lunches and long walks-and-talks down Broadway or Riverside or Central Park West of a beautiful spring evening.

Lauren and her gorgeous New York brashness and deep understanding of some of my inner most insecurities.

Johanna and our friendship's propensity for being a safe place for endless conversations about grief (though also about silly movies and wonderful books and what's really the best ramen place in this town).

Ari-love and, well, everything.

And Cindy, my friend of the beaded necklaces and flirty sundresses and crazy beautiful curls. Cindy with whom my friendship has been waxing and waning since middle school, but mostly waxing. We two are so awkward, sometimes, in the world and with each other and yet I don't know that it is possible to love a friend more than I love this woman.

So we met up yesterday at Grand Central and headed down to BAM, where we joined her brother and his husband for dinner and wine and the wonderful hilarity that was Ask Me Another.  Afterwards we wandered around Brooklyn, ostensibly looking for the C but secretly enjoying the wandering and the beautiful June night. We got home to my place just before midnight and promptly went to bed, both of us early risers and done in after a long day.

This morning was filled with tea and talk and apples with peanut butter, and then it was time to leave for work. She waited with me at the bus stop and then made her way home, and I've been left with this sense of warmth, this sense of being suffused with love and well-being, ever since.

A woman I knew in college once wrote a piece about her father's death and the "boundless luck" that had exemplified an adventurous and fulfilling life.  I've always remembered that phrase, and peered at it suspiciously, but perhaps in my old age I am beginning finally to understand it. Perhaps not the adventuring, exactly, but the sense of contentment that she also seemed to imply.

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