We were talking about something totally other than the next thought that came to my mind and then out my mouth, the way I do,
“Hey! Did you find out about your chair!?”
She was stumped, a little mystified, and then laughing hysterically. I had forgotten to tell her my train of thought, to bring her along with my change of subject…
“It must be so exhausting to have your brain!” (She said this with tears streaming down her face, gasps between guffaws.)
In my defense, it is important, this chair business. She purchased it weeks ago and it was to arrive to her home and has not appeared. We need to remember to call that place and demand that chair. We haven’t yet, too many other random things have come to mind and taken over. But still, where has the chair gone…
Earlier we were in the coffee drive-thru, where we had ordered her usual caramel soy latte and a maple clove latte for me. While we waited, I grabbed an essential oils roll-on thingy and wiped it on my neck and on my wrists.
“Oh, it’s oils. It is for peace and calming…to calm me down.”
“Oh yeah…good idea…right before you have espresso.”
We laugh so much.
It had been her birthday the day before, so we were going to lunch and to “fart around,” as she likes to say. We ate and we talked about boys and art and religion.
My friend is one of those people who came close to death and survived. Maybe she always was living fully, at least as much as she knew how, but now she is fully aware of the fullness of life, of her one chance.
I am what survives of me.
We have a routine of getting in and out of places and vehicles with her wheelchair and can now do the whole thing very fast and with less small accidents. On the birthday adventure day she started rolling backward after getting in her chair, which pushed me into the sliding door of the van. We laughed again, me pressed up against the van momentarily, her trying to wheel herself forward to free me.
We both know surrender, even if we forget to use it sometimes. We remind each other to use it, this gift of letting go, as often as we must. For her there are never minced words. After her stroke, words are harder to come by, so she chooses brevity with a side of blunt. I love it.
I recently got done with a long Lorelai Gilmore style rant about problems and situations and things, and she listened and nodded and then all she said was, “You are not a victim. Don’t be one. Because you are in control.”
She recently moved into an apartment very near me, and she also has a studio across the hall from my office in our freelance collaborative working space just blocks from our homes. I feel like the most fortunate one.
There is no way we were not meant to be friends. Two houses lit up in the night on two different hills, one road connecting to the front doors. A well beaten path has been trod, my feet, her wheels, lifting each other up and out, rolling with it.
I know just where to go.
This is Just Write, a free-writing exercise in which you sit down with no writing agenda, no pushing for a theme. Watch the details of your stories ignite their own meaning from within: