When you have blogged for ten years, you might be forgiven for repeating yourself once in a while.
When you have been best friends for 35 years, you might be forgiven for ... anything.
That's just how it works.
The girl in the photo up there, the one who isn't me, is my best friend. She has been, for 35 years. Maybe longer. She's my sister, just as surely as if we had been born of the same mother. We're blood, by choice.
I can describe her in deep, flowery paragraphs that contain run-on sentences, dripping with emotion.
I can just as easily describe her in a series of random words, that, in the end, when combined all together, paint a telling portrait.
She's kind. Intentional. Peaceful. Grateful. Loving. Tolerant. Accepting. Realistic. Idealistic. Hopeful. Playful. Artistic. Logical. Fanciful. Creative. Intelligent. Beautiful. Selfless. Childlike. Irrepressible. Outspoken. Sincere. Engaged. Honest. Spiritual. Yogic.
And a damn fine Scrabble competitor.
She's rather all around amazing, really.
It still flabbergasts me that someone like her chose me to be her Person. It still confounds me that she has the patience to wade through my neuroses and awkward idiosyncrasies and love me anyway.
We are simpatico on a great many things. But there are great big Themes of Life things we will never agree on. She makes me crazy insane with meditative platitudes - most especially because she actually has the audacity to LIVE them, and who DOES that? Who really finds that still center of themselves and puts out into the world all the goodness it holds? I make her NUTSO with my "organized religion" and insistence on attributing the meaning of life to some "Supreme Being" that exists beyond ourselves.
We get past it.
If I were to itemize the litany of acts of pure and true friendship she has graced me with in all these years, I'd be typing until I die. I labor under no delusion here: I have not been HALF the selfless friend to her she has been to me. She loves me, anyway. Relentlessly.
And I love her. Unconditionally.
Today, my sisterfriendpersonlove had brain surgery.
A neurosurgeon with a god complex took a sharp implement and carved into her skull. He journeyed to her cerebral center to insert a device to help the fluid that had built up there to drain out the way it's supposed to (the way God intended, I reminded her the night before said procedure, because, c'mon. Me? Miss an opportunity to goad? I think not) and return her equilibrium, et.al. to normal. Or return it to her normal, anyway. The preferred normal, she'd remind me.
Isn't that scary? It scared me. Wouldn't you be scared? Wouldn't you be all, "Let me get my affairs in order" and "Here's a key to a safe deposit box where all my sacred secrets are held" and whatnot and so forth?
Instead, Kerri has been all, "Easy peasy" and "I intend to come through this with flying colors and heal like a champ" and "Rhianna and I picked the theme song for today. See you on the other side of fabulous!"
Girl ain't right.
'Tis why I love her/want to choke her/treasure her.
Said surgeon's god complex lived to see another day, and the procedure went beautifully. Textbook. He expects no complications or further difficulties. He expects a full return to good health.
I mean...get this: at 11:30 a.m., her skull was cut open. At 6 p.m., she was sitting up in a hospital bed in a private room, sipping on a vanilla chai latte.
AND then there was this exchange with said god-complex-entitled-surgeon:
She: "So, I intend to be a superstar, you should probably know, and get sprung from this joint tomorrow. How's that going down in your world?"
Him: "Well. Okay. Toss in a $20 tip and I'll pull your car around for you."
If I were a bettin' girl, I'd put my money on Kerri sipping coffee in her kitchen, wearing yoga pants and Hello Kitty slippers by tomorrow afternoon.
I drove to Charlotte last night, spent today camping in the surgical waiting room with her much loved husband, and saw her settled into her room this evening.
Tomorrow, I'll be on the road for home, where, somehow, some things will never be quite the same.
Or maybe it's just me who will never be quite the same.
Because "easy peasy" or not, this experience was a gut check for me. It was a forceful, vivid, clarifying reminder to quit being a presumptive jackass. To quit being a cliche. To quit taking people in my life for granted. People I care about, most specifically. To quit holding back and show them what they mean to me. Tell them. Loud. Honest. Often.
I may have made this trip to be here for Kerri, but do you see what she did there?
She outplayed me.
The difference this time is, I'm coming to terms with being perfectly okay with that.
See you on the other side of fabulous!
*The title quote is a Nigerian proverb. A wise one.