I was three sentences into a different post this morning when my BlackBerry buzzed. I checked it. And there it was. The message I've been anticipating for three weeks now. Longer, actually. A message from my good friend. One whom some of you might remember. A friend who went through a very close call with pneumonia and swine flu at the tail end of her pregnancy. A friend who beat the odds and delivered a healthy baby boy, a mini miracle not long ago. I had not seen this friend in going on two months.
Her message: Come now. We are awaiting your arrival. Just pumped so we can catch up!
I saw these words and hit "save draft" and closed my computer. Rapidly, I tossed my things into my bag and ran outside. In the bitter cold, I threw up my arm and a taxi stopped. The ride was a blur of stoplights and green. We emerged from the park and before I knew it, I was there. At a place I knew. In a moment I knew would arrive.
I exchanged pleasantries with a nice-looking doorman. I walked past a glittering Christmas tree. I took a quick elevator ride. And then I walked in. To my friend's home, quiet and serene. I tiptoed down the hallway into her living room and there she was. Gorgeous. Glowing. Standing there in the sun-blanched room clutching the little man himself. And I approached, blinking back tears. I gave her a cautious hug and studied that tiny face. The wispy lashes and button nose. The bow lips. The silly sprinkling of hair. He looks just like his Daddy. I told my friend this.
We sat down at the small table. And we talked. She unpacked the sugary confections I'd brought and placed them between us. But we didn't indulge. Not then. We savored words instead. In broad, forgiving strokes, we talked about the scary road she'd traveled. A road that apparently also included a botched epidural and feared blood clot in the brain. I told her how radiant and skinny she looked and we joked about my little postpartum secret. We talked about our very good friend who just welcomed her beautiful second daughter on her thirtieth birthday. There was laughter. There was conversation. There was silence. The good kind.
At one point, I noticed that there were tears in my friend's eyes. And she said, "I don't even know how to thank you for your words. For your blog posts." I told her she didn't have to, that I wrote those words because I wanted to. And needed to. But she persisted, patently not plagued by the Pathetiquette that engulfs me. She told me that my words brought great solace to her and her husband and her geographically scattered family throughout this ordeal. She told me that her mother now reads my blog every day. She said those two words over and over. And they began to sink in. They did.
I took one last look at her little boy, pink and perfect in peaceful slumber. And I suffocated my friend with another hug. A less careful one this time. And then I walked back down that hall, traveled back down that elevator, muttered a quick goodbye to that nice man at the door. I walked back out into the relentless cold. My mind and heart swollen, I walked. Aimlessly.
I turned the corner and saw a familiar sign. A Starbucks sign. I marched toward that sign. I walked in. I waited on line with bundled strangers. Uncharacteristically, I ordered a decaf. I was plenty buzzed already. And though the store was packed, there was a little table in the back. One right near an outlet. I smiled.
I sat down. I plugged in. I logged on. I opened a new post. And I began to write, to pound away at this trusty keyboard. The words came and now keep coming. Here I am. Yards from my friend and her new love. Saying thank you. Thank you for being strong. For reminding me what matters. For letting me come glimpse that darling doll, for letting me witness the profound power of new life. For the sugar that is friendship.
And while I am on a roll, I have someone else to thank. Another woman. A different kind of friend. But a friend indeed. An exquisite writer and thinker. On her brilliant blog Daily Plate of Crazy, she goes by Big Little Wolf. In the past week, she passed along the Sugar Doll award to me and two of my absolute favorite bloggers Kristen and Goldfish. Per the wise Wolf, this particular accolade is is "bestowed for delightful and thought-provoking writing" and I am humbled and honored to receive this nod, this early Christmas gift from such a talented and thoughtful woman.
Now it's my turn to pass along this sweet prize. And it's a tough call, but I have chosen another new friend of mine: Jane of Theycallmejane's Blog. Each and every day, I lap up Jane's words, curiosities, and heartening optimism about this big, bad world we share.
Alas, a long and meandering post. But long and meandering like good days and good lives. And if you look closely at my words, affectionately jumbled here, there is a focus, however scattered. On sugar dolls, new and old. On close calls. On the lasting power of words. And on two words in particular. Two words that are hard for some of us to say.
Happy Friday, friends.
(Now it is off to Bergdorf's pour moi. I need a dress for a certain upcoming holiday soiree...)