All my life I have been rich.
I have waded in still pools, lolled on pillow-strewn couches, talked til the moon rose high and set again, dreamed out loud, laughed til I cried and cried til I laughed with my generous, brilliant, kind, honest and funny women friends.
It all started with having a built-in pal - who moved when I moved (which was every 2 or 3 years) went to school with me, suffered whatever we suffered as adolescents and remains one of my favourite women - my dear sister Jude.
I have a vast network of women friends that seems to only increase as I age. I have my closest pals that I phone daily and meet up with often. I am lucky to have friends that I share work with and so get to hang out with them in a variety of ways. I have friends that I write with, make plays with, teach with, walk dogs with, and travel with. The consistent factors have been that we like to cook and eat together, that we will never never run out of stories to tell each other, that we share a peculiar and wry sense of the world, that we like to share books, experiences, recipes, stories but not our men or for the most part our living arrangements - (although I am still very close to a couple of women I shared a home with).
When I started this post I was listing and telling all about my friends and so my dear readers (all of whom happen I believe to fall into this category of women friends) - it got too much. Who would I put where? All are golden - all precious and all hold slightly different places in my life.
Why am I even thinking of this? Because this morning I got an email from a friend who I only saw in my entire life for two years - thirty years ago. After a long period of silence we have in the past four years taken up correspondence - and it is has been scary and heavenly and bittersweet to do so. . Our time together was incredibly intense - it was definitely love at first sight and we lived in a very difficult time and space. To me - she was daring, provocative, generous, beyond hilarious and WILLING! Willing to take on logging companies, boredom, prejudice, juggling, husbands, dynamite and tequila hangovers. We were clowns together, loggers, newspaper editors and imaginers of a better funner world. And here is where I failed our friendship. I let her go to save myself. I left town and didn't look back. Sure I didn't know. I didn't know what her life would become (what it probably already was) and I didn't know that I might have helped pull her out of where we were. I didn't think I could presume upon our friendship to ask her to come along and she didn't think she could presume to be included. I just knew I had to leave. That is unspeakably dramatic and stupid to even write but it is true. And now she writes me to tell me that a family reunion will place her in my part of the world and could we connect? Like finding a jewel that I let carelessly fall from its setting and fall into a crack in the floor she appears. I am rich.