Hearing Moonlight Sonata in the hospital lobby. A rich and delicious Orange Chocolate Mousse cake. This line of poetry: "I still wear my favorite Hawaiian shirt, the color/of bubble gum, absinthe & night" (from "Larry Levis in Provincetown," by Rick Hilles). This commercial. No line at the gas station. A new cardigan. Scrabble on Facebook. This song. And this one. A free Diet Coke.
I spent a large chunk of Saturday with a very dear, very old friend. It was her birthday, and we were going to lunch. I told her that we were going to act like we were 16 again. We were 16 together, and it was a carefree time. Even with the staggering narcissism of a teenager I knew then that I was living a carefree, semi-charmed life. Teen dramas notwithstanding, I was happy. I had friends, and they were good people. So, as we embarked on this day together, the fact that 16 is long since behind us didn't matter. We were going to be carefree on her birthday. We got a little bit lost trying to find the restaurant and chalked it up to adventure. We drove by a friends house to see what was going on. (Our 16 was pre-Facebook, after all, and we had to do our creeping the old fashioned way.) We went to an old haunt and indulged ourselves a little bit. It was as carefree as two grown-ups could manage, and was a lovely day. We aren't 16, though. That was evident immediately, as I watched my friend get a goodbye hug from each of her beautiful children and a goodbye kiss from her wonderful husband. That we aren't 16 was borne out by our conversation: children, mortgages, the deaths of loved ones, career choices... all the trappings of adult life. We'll never be 16 again. We both know that. But, it didn't matter. Because being 16 wasn't the point. Being friends was the point. And we are. Friends. We're the kind of friends that can pick up where we left off no matter how much time has passed. We're the kind that have a long, long history; the kind of history that makes back-stories mostly unnecessary. We're the kind of friends who have stood through thick and thin, and will continue to do that. She was good people at 16. All our friends were. She's amazing people now. They all are. I knew they would be. My life at 16 was charmed, because by geography and happenstance, I made good friends, who for whatever reason, deemed me worthy. And now, all these years later, it's not about being 16; it's bigger than that. Saturday, for all it's grown-up trappings, was magic. Because friends like that? They are like home.
I'm going to share a secret with you. It's this website, 750 words, and it has allowed me to keep my sanity. Seriously. It's a private online journal that encourages you to write 750 words a day. When you hit the goal, it gives you a rundown of the content with some cool little graphics. It's good practice for those who want to write, but it's also a magnificent place to vent. I don't do so hot with the paper and pen journal, but this is really easy for me. There are a lot of things that I need to purge sometimes, and this public blog isn't the appropriate forum to share them. Thus, 750 words. I can be as negative as I need to be. Or as silly. Or I can cry as hard as I need to. And I can share the things that are really in my heart; those things that it would be embarrassing for anyone to see. It's a bit like a prayer. It's cathartic and awesome. It's totally worth the time it takes to get to 750 words. Try it.