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August 27, 2010

Tomorrow, my good friend Z. gets a fresh start. Shortly after sunrise, she’ll pack her car (too risky leaving it preloaded in our neighbourhood overnight), fasten her seatbelt, slap her sister’s hand with a high-five, program her GPS for “that-a-way”, then she will drive, drive, drive. Not so much an escape as a RESET.

We spent a lot of time together back in the spring, but this was cut short when I decided I needed a break from all things social, all things demanding, all things that had much to do with anything but myself. I was tired and drained from too much saying “yes” and not enough “no” or “yes, but not now, please wait till a bit later”. By no means did I specifically chop Z. from my days, but I did step back from hanging out with everyone, and I’d be lying if I claimed it was anything less than delicious. For the first time in too long, I was sleeping well, reading a lot, writing only when I felt like it instead of when I felt like I should. I was eating lovely, sweet dinners solo at home, or quietly in the company of one or two friends. I wasn’t freelancing myself into an early grave, or committing to late-late things even though it was only Tuesday and four more office days stood between me and the end of the week. I wasn’t spending too much money on spending time at restaurants, bars, and shops. I wasn’t meeting people for the sake of meeting, or spreading my time too thin. I had energy. I gained weight. A friend remarked that I was developing a rather sensational ass. Not because he wanted a piece of it. Rather, he called it a sign that I was relaxed, happy, content, well-rounded.

In short, I had cultivated some space and was tending my little patch of privacy and downtime. Making space for things both familiar and fresh. I figured that once I’d settled into myself a little, then there would be more me to go around. I could, for instance, play croquet with Z. and K. all July, and fix dinner and drinks with R. around Labour Day. There’d be loads of evenings for leisurely strolls with A., M., and J. through the park, flasks of something-something at our hips. And, endless evenings and weekends during which Z. and I would execute the dinners and dates on our ever-growing list.

I spent a lot of the summer getting out of town. And, it was great. I loved putting my feet up at the cottage, bobbing on a pink mattress in a cool, placid lake. I loved the early mornings and early nights, and the days when shoes weren’t required. Also, I spent a lot of the summer close to home. Picked at tiny weeds in my garden, rubbed the sage and tarragon between my fingers while reading a book, legs dangling over the chair arm and toes getting a bit tingly because, to be honest, that’s a romantic-looking way to sit but really is not comfortable at all. The weather was my favourite: humid and clammy and hot and sunny, with incredible rains and equally incredible strings of very dry days. I sunned like a lizard and came into my own. Now, summer is pretty close to its end.

Mission accomplished, control over life attained (as much as one can really claim to control one’s life from stem to stern), it’s time to strike a balance between solitude and productive hyper-extension. There’s just one thing: me and Z.? We never played that round of croquet. I don’t think we’ve ever been drunk together. I promised to try eating lamb again once the squeamishness of visiting my uncle’s sheep farm and meeting a trio of fleecy cuties passed, and Z. was going to fix me that meal. And, we haven’t had coffee together in at least a hundred mornings. And, tomorrow, she blows off our hometown.

This is not, however, a lament for days and hang-outs and opportunities lost. Rather, it’s a love letter to our friendship, a bon voyage to someone I admire from head to toe, and a click of the “reset” button. Our next challenge? Inventing things in place of the stuff we get to shuffle off and let go. Croquet? Packs up neatly for the trip to the east coast. Cocktails on picnic blankets? I hear they sell hooch in the Maritimes (some of it quite formidable stuff). Tomorrow, my friend Z. drives toward something completely new, and more than anything, I can’t wait to visit here there.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 28, 2010 8:54 am

    Very nice story about friendships and its ups and downs.

  2. foodandpassion permalink
    September 12, 2010 12:14 pm

    Love letter reread a hundred times over. And it doesn’t even have to be stuffed into a shoebox full of important, ancient correspondence. Excellent clutter control, these blogs are. Thank you Miss. A. xoxo

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