Day #11-Had to skip a couple of days, and thus I am compelled officially to admit failure in the Daily Post Challenge. Yet I intend to proceed. I spent the weekend with two wonderful women (and an up-and-coming wonderful woman, collegiate daughter of one of the aforementioned). We were unplugged; spent our time talking and walking and eating and drinking and laughing. There were even some tears. The Internet was a stranger, and in the face of actual interactions with people I love, my commitment to adding my stilted prose to its already-swollen ranks of self-expression faded without a murmur. So I missed two of 30 days of blog posts in favor of 48 hours of the real deal—don’t read any more if my defection bothers you.
Today I went back to work, back to the normal routine, and found it wistfully sad and satisfying at the same time. I was reeling with exhaustion by the time my weekend ended, short on sleep and even shorter on down time. I was short-tempered with my family and asleep by 8:00 p.m. on Sunday evening as a result. But those hours filled my spirit with joy, and every yawn and weary sigh as I hauled myself out of bed this morning was worth it. For two days I laughed like a girl, listened to real words and watched real faces, found myself impossibly untangled and free in the company of people whose freedom brightened and resonated with mine. They got on an airplane this morning while I was buried in meetings. But those two days of clear, cool sunshine and friendship will live in my heart like the unimaginably long summer days of childhood; memories of this caliber are like armor against the depravities and tedium of getting old.
I remember when I met my best friend; it was more than 27 years ago, and the warm late summer sunshine of those Eastern Seaboard days still shines over those memories. Yesterday we walked and talked together as if no time had passed at all. Marriages, divorces, childrens’ births and parents’ deaths have flowed past us and left us refined by pain and rarified by joy but still, essentially, the same. What miracle is this, that keeps the flame of friendship young and bright though time ravages our faces and our hearts? Something deep within us must have clicked all those years ago to still be alive and well after all the ebbings and flowings of time.
In my 45 years of traveling and friendships, I had never carved a weekend out to spend with women who made me feel ageless and utterly engaged. I will not let another year go by without repeating the experience. I came home to my family wobbling with weariness but full of joy. And although the world’s vagaries clanged and clashed around me today, I felt strong and awake in the face of them, re-charged and re-energized by spending two short days in the embrace of something infinitely more real and important.
Tonight I sleep like the dead. Tonight I am safe home, re-acclimated to the rhythms of reality and comforted by the rituals that bracket the end of the day. But in my head the potion is still active. Somewhere in my mind my friends and I are still laughing, and our hands—thinner and more angular than they once were—are still clasped together as we open our hearts. I hope with all my soul that I will never be out of earshot of that sound again.
©Mary Braden 2013