Sunday, November 27, 2005

For Mona, with Love

I'm stealing a page from EZ here...

Like everyone else in this big scary world, I've had my fair share of ups and downs. There were times I thought I'd never again have happiness in my life. At the time we met, I had just cut myself off from my former life, and nearly everyone in it. I forced myself to make the clean break I had so desperately needed. It was a huge step for me, and a rather risky one at that.. How do you start over after nearly thirty years of life? And then I met you, and everything changed.

The fact that we didn't like each other the very first day we met still amazes me to this day. You had your glasses pulled down on your nose, and you were staring at me over the screen of your laptop. I can't even imagine what you must have thought of me at that moment. If I were pressed to venture a guess, I think it might have gone something like this...

"Who the hell does this bitch think she is, waltzing in here with her low-cut shirt, boobs hanging out for everyone to see? And my Lord, her mouth! She must have said 'fuck' at least twenty times in the last ten minutes! Christ, she's brash. And obnoxious. And tough as nails. She MUST be from the South Side." Am I close, Mona?

I remember consciously deciding on my way in that day to keep my guard up. Scare 'em. Show them who's boss right away so they can't see how terrified you actually are. But you saw right through me, didn't you? You - ONLY you - could see that it was all an act. You knew I was a phony. It was me in my finest self-preservation mode, and I didn't fool you for one second.

And then, one day, everything changed. It's remarkable how one tiny meltdown can bring two people together. The day that you lost your marbles, so to speak, turned out to be the best day of my life. That was the day you became my friend.

Jesus, we've been through our fair share of craziness, haven't we? Broken relationships, major illnesses, career changes. You name it, we've probably seen it all, but I wouldn't change one bit of it, because it's made our friendship as strong as it is today. More importantly, it's made us who WE, as individuals, are today.

So, if I haven't told you lately just how damn much I love you, let me say it now...

You, above all others, have been my rock. You've picked me up when I was at my lowest, and nudged me, ever so gently, in the right direction. You've taught me that I am a good person, and that I'm capable of giving a great deal of love to others. And you've shown me that I'm worthy of love. Big love.

You're the voice in my head when I make decisions. You're the person I strive to be every day of my life. You have the kindest, gentlest soul of any person I've ever, or will ever, know. I am in constant awe of your brilliance, talent, beauty and creativity. You've taught me patience (and not just because you're always late) and compassion, which are two virtues I'd never thought myself capable of. To me, you are perfect, and I am so very grateful that you have chosen to be a part of my life.

Oh, and by the way, I will never again see a butterfly ("Is it that whole chrysalis/rebirth thing?") or a pair of nude hose ("I don't wear nude hose, but I'm checking it for runs anyways.") without laughing my ass off.

You have brought so much joy in to my life, and are as much a sister to me as my own. I will never, ever be able to repay you for the gifts you've given me, but I promise you I'll work every day for the rest of my life to make sure you know how much I appreciate you.

I saw a movie not too long ago, and it reminded me of US. It was about friendship between two women that spanned decades. It was a funnier, Irish version of "Beaches." Why do the Irish always have a knack for doing everything better? Anyways, at one point in the film, one of the women found out she had a terminal illness. One day, she and her friend were on a boardwalk, overlooking the ocean, discussing the future, and what she said struck me. All I could think of was you.

She said, "You know, we're here for a good time, not a long time, and having a friend like you is as good as it gets."

To me, they're wisest words I've ever heard. I hope that, for the rest of your life, you'll carry them with you and think of me. I love you, kiddo, & always will.

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