Apologies

So the last time I posted to this blog, my friend Dominique said that I apologize for something in nearly every post I publish. Looking back on those posts, she’s right. I say I’m sorry for not enough time, not enough effort, not enough heart. I’m like a walking Amy Schumer skit. It was embarrassing.

But why should I be sorry? I’m spending what little time I have doing something I love. There’s not room for apology there, only room for doing and making. I am sorry for a lot of things in life, as most are, but I’m not sorry for writing.

I’m getting that mid-summer Wanderlust that is usually satiated by a trip up the coast to some little town with good sandwiches and overpriced antiques. Instead the urge is quenched by practicing Spanish and French daily, driving my husband nuts with questions about the imperfect and subjunctive tenses, reading “Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck, working like a dog at my day job while planning a month of travel in Europe, and YES, writing. So here’s an unapologetic taste, kiddos

On the occasion of Lisa’s death, I’ve been thinking about the peculiar folk – the friends who chose to join me on some stretch of life. I think it is because I was so poor at making friends as a child that I value my friendships more than most. Let’s see. I have a raised garden in the tiny patch of land behind my house where I tend tomato vines, mostly. I’m not always successful in beating away the crows when they come to peck the fruit at its first juicy blush, but the ones I do save are given my utmost care. I have found myself spending hours outside on warm Sundays pulling weeds and letting a slow trickle from the watering can spread across the mulched bed. I polish tomato skins with a thumbpad and examine each one for worms and lacerations. Well see, that’s how I approach friendship.

A friend means that someone has deigned to begin a conversation with me and endured my uncomfortable pauses and shifty eyes. They loosen me up, shake the words out of me, then can’t plug the dike. I save my words for a long time before I spend them.

Lisa was the friend I had the longest and saw the least. We grew up four houses down from each other in one of those developments where backyards weren’t separated by walls and kids could do the 100-yard dash or play flag football and no one would say a word unless they got too loud or tore up a flower bed. Her mother had died during childbirth, and her father had gone from hopeless to self-assured by the time we moved to the neighborhood. My mom would try to give him advice on packed lunches and sleepovers, but he was one step ahead and would end up telling her about a new health food store with farm-fresh eggs or the latest kid-friendly Elvis-at-the-beach movie at the theater. It irked my mom for a few months until she started to treat him like one of her female friends and they amicably traded recipes and Oak Street gossip.

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