I was out with my friend Kim tonight; it was our first time catching up in a long while. In fact, it was our rescheduled holiday get together. We work together--well, we're teachers in the same building--but rarely see each other. We might pass each other in the hallway or wave across the room at our monthly staff infection, I mean meeting, but we maintain our friendship outside of school, albeit sporadically. Sometimes it takes several tries to pick a date, pencil it in, and then not erase it, but eventually it happens. And we enjoy ourselves. The nice thing, as with most adult friendships, or those worth working on and keeping anyway, is that we don't guilt trip each other or set unreasonable expectations. I don't take it personally if something comes up with her daughter or if she has plans with another friend; she doesn't take it personally if I have something else going on. It works.
Aside from having gone to high school together and then finding ourselves 15 years later teaching at the same school two towns away (both having taken circuitous routes there), she and I have something else common these days. She has a dear friend, Patty, who is battling cancer and, as you know, I have a dear cousin, Donna, doing the same. She asked about Donna and I told her she is just amazing, doing remarkably well. She shared the same about Patty. And we both agreed that we don't think we'd have the same strength or courage to fight as gracefully and valiantly as they both have been fighting--and winning--the battle. Then, at the same time Kim and I both recalled hearing from people in situations such as theirs that you never think you have the strength until you need it, until you find yourself in the middle of the fight.
"I don't know, Kim," I said. "Donna is working, willing to help us decorate for my parents' anniversary party. I just had dinner with her last weekend. She's so positive and energetic and focused, and honestly, I'd probably be like, on the couch, 'Where's my cocktail? Would somebody get me a f**kin" drink for God's sake?! I'm dyin' ovah he-ah!'" (though not dying, of course)
At which point Kim thought the moment was perfect to give me my present: a fun, faux needlepoint throw pillow which reads: I'll have a caffe mocha vodka Valium latte to go, please!
(And to which Donna just replied when I told her the story of how I think I'd react, "How's that any different from the way things are now??" ha. ha. ha.)
Touché, sistahs. Good times.