Why can't we be friends?
Last night, the universe poked its head through the slits in my living room blinds and threw me a surprise again. It was in the middle of what the newspapers called a violent storm. (I called it a fun one). The sky was orange and gray, and the rain was coming down thick. It was, “big, fat rain,” as Forrest Gump once described. The lightning followed the thunder without hesitation. I saw nothing more fit to do than stand on my back porch, soak, and watch it, hypnotically.
My best friend ran up my back stairs careful but fast in her flip-flops, to get out of the rain. She met me at the top, on my porch, and pushed past to get inside, laughing at how crazy the storm was. She told me she ALMOST got hit by lightning, “It hit RIGHT in front of me!” Screaming and laughing and smiling in the big, fat rain and lightning storm was such a treat.
We settled in to watch “Walk the Line” before game seven started. Other friends of ours were to join us, but until they did, we giggled and laughed and spoke in the tone of voice and with the degree of sarcasm that only two best female friends can enjoy and appreciate.
C and S walked in, and in a way it felt like the party’d been pooped. Best friend and I resumed our “around other people” personas, and cooled down on the goofiness of minutes before. C has been a nice, but always rather distant friend. S has been a fair-weather friend, one I’ve always felt was judging me like a real-life Martha Stewart. I figured she laughed only at some of my jokes, acknowledged my presence only sometimes, and chatted me up at a party only when it suited her most. The kind of ‘friend’ that I handled gracefully at get-togethers but rarely saw at “hanging out” moments like the one were preparing to have last night, watching the hockey game.
Of course, I prepared tea. Nothing unites people like tea. And we watched the game. Before not too long, S was being herself. She was goofy, she was honest. She laughed and shared her thoughts on men. (She prefers asshole hockey players if they look beefy, haha). It hit me last night, as the game filled the screen, the tea and Sunchips were shared, that she is real. She does not exist to belittle or make anyone feel inferior. She does not wake up plotting against self-esteem. She is a person capable of being a good girlfriend, a funny girl, with secrets and habits and unique behaviours. It was just those behaviours I had been misinterpreting, banning her from my friends circle.
I felt ashamed. It was my own fault; I was close-minded. I had missed out on truly enjoying her company all these years past. But on one rainy evening, with four girls gathered in a living room, bonded by tea, Sunchips and the four-way commentary accompanying the hockey game, I understood how nice it is to not have a pickle up my bum. Friends are more fun than pickles in bums.