I am a selfish woman.
I like to have most of what I want, and I like to have it now.
~ ~ ~
The few days after a wedding, there aren’t many things I can think about except that wedding. I tell people all about the dresses and the music and the food, and I wish in a little part of me that I could live it again.
My Good Things was postponed because I was making my way back from Columbus, Ohio. Another friend got married and one day turned into a weekend and a 13-hour-each-way drive and a reunion.
[It was when she raised her eyebrows at me, smiling, that I caught a glimpse of the real her. We were in the second row – a whole line of college friends – but it wasn’t until I saw those upturned eyebrows and grin that I thought, There she is.]
~ ~ ~
I worry that I will be forgotten. I live day to day, doing my thing in this small town, and I wonder how long it will take for these friends to forget. How many earnest conversations on dorm room beds does it take to be remembered? How many secrets whispered (or giggled) does it take to burn me into someone’s memory? How many coffees, rides in the bug, walks on the beach, trips to the city, or tears that both embarrass me and liberate me does it take to leave a print?
That is the selfishness I’m talking about. I watched my beautiful friend in all her honest joy, and I felt a tug of sadness.
I am no longer part of this.
I do not run into her in the hall, running down the hill, rushing to class, singing goofy songs in my too-small apartment.
I know her great worth, but I do not get to have that shine on me like I used to.
It was an honor to be invited, to witness their vows and their love in a way that living across the world doesn’t allow me to.
It was an honor – and a good time to remember that we can love deeply over great distances.
Just because we don’t share our days anymore doesn’t make the ones we did share any less real.
[I wrote a poem about her my senior year. About how she ate almonds while she talked in English class, how her rings flashed when she talked. I wrote about her, I think, because I knew our friendship was going to change, and I had no control and that had to be okay with me.]
~ ~ ~
They broke the bread and drank the cup, he pronounced them husband and wife (to which she yelled, “Yes!”), and they danced and shimmied around in a circle. We sent them off with sky lanterns and laughter and a tinge of sadness because Italy is far away.
It isn’t about whether or not I am part of it. It is about the fact that it is, and it is beautiful.