Sunday, February 14, 2016

Good Friends Girl Friends

This trip to California took a totally different turn for me. I usually come for an event,  then visit my friend, JT. We talk and visit, drive down to the beach, hang out, generally comment on the state of the world, watch Netflix movies, and then I make my way back home.

This trip I did attend an event (see blog) but I went to visit friends that lived much further away whom I hadn’t seen for many, many years (at least 10 in both cases.)

My friend who lives south of San Francisco and I were roommates in an apartment for a while back when we were both in college. I had met her brother a couple years earlier. Our relationship just naturally followed when she came to San Francisco to go to school.

We’ve always kept in touch. I was at her wedding. She entertained my children in her pool in her backyard. I flew down to celebrate her 50th birthday. On every occasion, it was as if no time and no distance had passed.

To visit her, I took the Caltrain. That was a new experience for me. I lived in San Francisco for almost a decade, but I never had the occasion to take the train. Caltrain provides commuter rail service along the San Francisco Peninsula, through the South Bay to San Jose and Gilroy. She lives just north of San Jose, so I took a 90 minute train ride through parts of California that I had never seen. She picked me up at the station, and after a long, hard hug, we started chatting as if we had just got off the telephone earlier that week!

It was wonderful to be there. I had to chance to see one of her sons who is now all grown up! We ate Thai food, swam in the heated pool, drank wine, and discoursed on the state of the nation. We went to the beach, watched the sea lions floating like driftwood, ate clam chowder and calamari, and played in the waves more than ankle deep in the ocean.

There was never any doubt, discomfort or distress. Every word, every pause, every silence was filled with our history, our connection, our yesterday and our now.

I then traveled by BART, with which I am highly familiar, to a station with which I am highly familiar – El Cerrito del Norte! That’s where I take the train to visit my cousins! I texted my cousin from the station to let her know that I was ‘passing through’ but probably wouldn’t get to see them this trip. What a delight it was for me to see my friend Michalle after all these years!

I first crossed paths with Michalle when I was active in the Broadcast industry and she was the Marketing person for a local radio broadcasting group. We didn’t chat much, but I became much closer friends with her when she opened a store across from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It was called ‘The Angel Store.’ Her store had crystals and talismans, candles and cards, and a machine that read auras. I wandered in there one day with a friend from school who is also into Metaphysics and Spirituality, and there she was!

She eventually left town and moved up north. We still kept in touch now and again by phone. In 2002, she called and asked me to be in her wedding! It was both a privilege and an honor to be a member of her bridal party. We had a wonderful time and promised to keep in touch. This time was a little easier because now there was Facebook.

On Facebook, I had the opportunity to follow her work and her travels. She had adopted a bunch of special needs babies, she was working and moving around trying to fill their needs. I followed her trials and tribulations and would even call to personally check-in on occasion. She came to Vegas once, and we had lunch.

But Saturday, at the station, it was that instantaneous moment of recognition. Again, a long, hard hug, and then right into conversation that we could have started only days or even minutes before.

We stopped to do a little wine tasting in a few of the vineyards around her home. Next, we made our way back to her house only for me to discover that one of her hidden talents is as a chef! She made amazing dinner and dessert, and then fabulous brunch the next morning before I left for home.

It was such a wonderful time. It was such a wonderful visit. These are the days of our lives. Live them well. Love your neighbors. Travel often. Hug one another. Celebrate your friends.

My girlfriends are the sisters I picked out for myself.

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