One of the most important people in my life is moving away. She is my friend Vanessa and she and her dashing and brilliant husband and gorgeous children are moving three thousand miles away to Boston in a couple of months.
My husband is my best friend but that doesn’t mean that Vanessa moving away doesn’t feel like a seismic shift tossing me off balance. Because it does feel that way. It feels like a little earthquake. In Emma by Jane Austen, Harriet is in a fluster and begs her friend Emma to “do talk to me and make me comfortable again.” I often ask this of Vanessa, and she puts me back together after a rejection of a writing submission, or a job loss, or any other event that has utterly crushed me. Vanessa is sparkling and a genius and she is pretty. She is talented in hidden ways because she is not a bragger. She can draw and she has style. She knows everyone, even some people who are famous. She writes like a word magician. Her house is stylish. Her younger children take ballet. Her eldest son is in my class and he is brilliant.
Vanessa and I spent last summer swimming with our children in the baby pool in the city park. The heat did not touch us as we lounged in the cool blue water, our skin pruning, our faces reflected in the others’ oversized sunglasses. She shared her kids’ snacks with my kid because I always forgot snacks. She gave me a silver pendant that says superhero on it to wear on my first day at my new school.
This puts me in mind of Lora, another friend of mine who will leave someday, but not yet. She is another one who always knows what to say to “make me comfortable again”. She is so beautiful and magnetic that men, women and children literally stop on the sidewalk to watch her pass. Lora is a healer by nature, and will soon be one by trade. She is intuitive to the point of ESP. I gave her a turquoise blue pendant that matches her eyes.
Then I think of Laura, the only girl from college I ever talk with. We don’t even talk. We write long letters that we pull out of ourselves like silk scarves, telling everything. She is an important artist and musician and whenever I get a glimpse of the world through her art or music I am astonished. She was the only girl I knew in college who was truthful and not on drugs.
Laura showed me what kind of woman I wanted to be back when I was making those decisions with very few other role models. She didn’t do anything but be herself, but if it weren’t for her I would have fallen into some kind of well of bullshit early on and been lost forever.
My friend Marissa is a Valkyrie of superhuman strength and style. My friend Tricia is a magical faerie. Archna is a goddess mother of sons. Geri is a fashionista writer working mom who is superkind and supersmart in equal measure. Rachel takes care of my whole family with amazing efficiency and does everything with singular style and honor. Where would I be without them? Lost. Forever.
These women are essential to me. They keep my ground solid. They make me know what kind of woman I want to be.
Vanessa will move away and we’ve already resolved to write long letters to bridge the country between us. We both love to write and these letters will be more silken threads weaving story, reaching across the thousands of miles between friends. Do talk to me, I will beg her. Make me feel comfortable again.