My NicThough I have a passable way with words, it is limited to the written word, not spoken. Soon as I open my mouth. I stumble and hem and haw, never able to articulate what it is I’m truly feeling or what my addled brain is trying so desperately to convey. I am not an eloquent speaker, nor am I one to comfortably express affection aloud. I hug, I touch hands, look meaningfully into someone’s eyes, invent pet names, use them liberally and without shame, but the mere act of saying “I love you” does not come easily for me. I tell my children that I love them, though. Frequently. They’re probably sick to death of my mooing and bleating, the daily petting and cooing...Too bad. I won’t ever stop assaulting them with the “L” word. Never. But with others, it’s a rare occurrence, even with my husband of almost fifteen years.
Today I want to express my love to a remarkable woman, albeit through my sorry PC instead of my even sorrier mouth, because she deserves to know, because she should be honored, told how much she has added to my life, and how damned empty my life would be without her.
She is a thirty-something black chick, beautiful, independent, generous, funny, talented, opinionated, kind, forgiving, moody; she is “auntie” to my four kids, sister to me, my shoulder to cry on, sounding board, sympathizer -- she is my best friend.
We met on a bus bound for Syracuse, me with my pink Mohawk, she looking fabulous in white jeans and heavy eyeliner, and we meshed right away. Weird, that, considering I rarely if ever “mesh” with people, especially during that period of my life. But we meshed, dug one another immediately, talked like long lost buds during that hideously smelly ride to the Bowie concert. We passed the Wild Irish Rose back and forth between us and laughed, gagged (as Wild Irish Rose and filthy old men will cause one to do), made rude comments about our fellow passengers, all the while bursting out with intermittent shrieks of excitement (BOWIE! JESUS CHRIST, WE’RE GOING TO SEE BOWIE!). Thus began our almost twenty-five year journey as friends.
And what a journey it has been. We grew up together, she and I. Still find it difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that we’re now grown women with children. We’ve seen one another through crisis after crisis, joy after joy, endured absences and fights, misunderstandings and lordallmighty, some fucking precious times. We have witnessed divorce, death, birth, and we have cried, and we have giggled like little girls, broken the law, slapped, screamed, hugged...No one but no one compares to my girl, and no one will ever understand my quirks like she does, know me like she does. No one. She is strong, perhaps the strongest person I will ever know, and she is honest, a woman made of the right stuff, a woman who takes no crap, who will gladly tell you where to go if provoked. She is a woman of example, a woman who makes her way in this oftentimes rough world by her own rules. Don’t give this woman pity because she’ll throw it right back in your face then stomp you silly; she has no room in her soul for pity as her soul is filled with integrity, with fiery ambition and autonomy. She makes sense and she knows where it’s at.
And so today I say, “I love you, Nic.” I do. May we grow old and ornery together, the both of us sitting on the porch, knocking back beers and banging our heads to whatever new music is to come in 2034, both of us looking fabulous in black, nails painted silver or red or blue as we laugh, eat mounds of chocolate things, groan about how shitty aging is, cry over how beautiful life is, or how cruel.
May we always be.