It was one of those out-of-the-blue emails. My dear friend, the Ivy League playwright (who I have sworn to perpetually fund once I win the lottery), sent a message titled “My demands”. The text? “An update of your life immediately.” I was delighted, truly. We have been friends for 13 years now, through college, various grad schools, multiple cities, more relationships for both of us than we’d like to remember, a broken engagement or two, a shared summer at camp, and lots of cocktails. The kind of friends that even though you only talk a few times a year, you always pick right back up where you left off.
She’s recently ended a five year relationship she thought was marriage material and moved from Manhattan to the backwoods of New England to take a great job opportunity. And really it has been a while since we truly caught up. So, I sent the rundown: work (yay for the money, boo for the work and my boss), relationship (still engaged and living together, his new job), writing (some paying, some not, and the chapbook coming soon), and other (working with the mayor, my non-profit board). Toss in a joke about sounding like a Type A nightmare and nursing a hangover in the sweatpants while watching Miss America reruns and the update is complete.
Now, this is not the kind of woman who holds a nasty jealous streak. She lives the life she wants with every ounce of her body- I love that about her. You can tell how classy someone is by the way they respond to the good fortune of others. Her response? “Well that’s all very fancy! Including reality TV marathons and hangover and sweatpants. If I had my TV yet, I would do the same. Congratulations on all that. Earning a real living, being engaged, the commissioner and chapbook things, etc. That is a lot of most excellent news!”
And then she went on gracefully to explain how she’s mending her heart, is all alone in a dry town with only her dog for company, and hopes that soon she will get bigger and better responsibilities in her theatre gig. And all I could think is, if I had a car, I would drive the ten hours from here to her. That we would watch bad reality t.v. on the set I would buy her. Together in our sweatpants like we did when “The Real World” was the only reality and we were too young to go to bars legally. When broken hearts and broken relationships seemed easier to bounce back from, and not like possible last chances.
Its hard not resent a world that keeps our comforts at emails’ length or the end of a phone line. It’s times like these that I wish we would have all stayed home and not gone out to find the big bad world. Sometimes a girl needs her oldest friends to be right next door. If only to give them the hug she so desperately wishes she could give in person.