Thursday, April 28, 2011

A tribute to a friend

I had dinner with my friend of about 35 years the other evening. Her husband was out of town on business.So, it ended up being three of us, she was number one, number two was my honey and lastly, number three was myself.

We try to get together every so often. That "often" could be months or weeks. It doesn't matter, we pick up where we left off. We came into each others lives via yet-to-be husbands that were friends/coworkers.
 On her side of the picture, they got married and are still that way. Together, or separate, they are a wonderful couple, good people and lots of fun. On my side, I  married and after many years, divorced. Now am with a man who fits me better than I thought anyone could.
Since it was the three of us, I had more time, it seemed, to really look at her. Oh, I see her and everything, but this one was a quiet, deeper assessment of friendship, time and relationships.
The first time I met her, I was awed and intimidated. She was lovely with beautiful doe eyes, a wonderful smile, a great figure, long dark brown hair. She looked as beautiful, perhaps more, than a famous celebrity at the time.  I was soon taken in by her warm manner, her joy for life and her welcoming ways. We became friends by circumstance and as the saying goes, the rest is history.

After 35 years, we both have had many experiences in life, many of them the same, some very different, and some that we may never know about each other. All I know is that a friendship this long is special and it really doesn't take any work. Because we both get to be ourselves you see. There is mutual respect, a genuine happiness for when good things come either way, a compassion that needs no words. An understanding that life gets hectic, and you can be in someone's thoughts at all times of the day, even if you can't be there in person. A look, a touch, a hug really can be everything. We've had many experiences, both together and separately, pretty much always with support from each other, these include weddings, births of babies, raising children, up north family vacations, ski trips, shopping, hours on the phone, deaths of loved ones, illnesses, divorce, growing pains, tragedies, depression, happiness, endless laughter, more than enough tears and a love that is still growing. It grows because the nurturing and caring have never stopped.

Sitting there at the table, I had a chance to really see her. She had a softness about her. And even though it was the end of a long day, a busy week, and part of a full life . . . I saw a beautiful woman. She was a bit tired, but her eyes still had a spark, her smile relaxed and wide. She was beautiful inside and outside  . . . and sideways and upside down. We are the same age and things have changed for us physically. She and I are a bit heavier than we'd like, the hint of coming wrinkles hiding around the corner, the skin not quite as fresh and dewy, and the passage of youth also means changes in other things, a tagging of the edges of gravity is somewhere closer on the horizon . But the laughter is more genuine, the sincerity deeper. She and I may be different than all those years ago, but she seems almost even more beautiful than ever before. The realization has come that our time on earth can be pretty short. Life teaches you. It teaches patience, hope and understanding. But mostly, it teaches unconditional love.
I hope that we have at least 35 more years to share together . . . I can't wait to see how much more beautiful she becomes.