There is nothing better than lying on a sandy beach watching gigantic waves crash just before sunset at the end of summer. The inherent romance in that scenario aside, lying there with one of my best friends that I haven’t seen in a long time is even better!
I met her when I was 6. We went to school together, slept over each other’s houses. She brought me to church where I made my commitment to follow Jesus for the first time and she bought me my first Bible. As teenagers we used to go to the beach to layout all the time. We were even rescued by a lifeguard together.
We got married in the same year and both moved away from home. My visit to her when she lived in Missouri spawned my brain’s 15 year fixation on tornadoes. We had children and moved again back to California in the same year and made traditions of seeing each other at New Years Eve which is her birthday. Our families shared vacations and our kids became friends. One super fun vacation was in Mexico and we laughed yesterday as we remembered the good times. Watching our kids jump off the roof into the pool, dancing to traditional mexican music in the sunken in living room (minus our husbands who were both stick-in-the-muds), lighting fireworks at the beach and running in the pitch black with our kids in tow when some Mexican guy starting coming at us yelling.
I called her first with the bad news of my husband’s betrayal about 8 months before the same thing happened to her. And we set off to Ireland to celebrate my 40th birthday with hopes of replacing some of the tears with smiles. And we sure did. It was one of the most fun trips of my life. We laughed and danced and explored. She was with me when I met Martin, ill-fated as it was.
I went to visit her on her 40th birthday, 2010 New Year’s Eve and that night was a true low point for both us. We were 40-year-old women with teenagers who had been rejected. We were determined not to let our depression get the best of us and we set out for a fun night out on the town. But we were both miserable and the entire scene should have happened when we were 19 because we were so stupid. We let some guys, both 26 year-olds, buy us drink after drink. We danced, we laughed, we felt pretty but we got very drunk. The night ended tragically and violently after the guy I was with became extremely aggressive sexually. I will never forget sobbing in her arms that night after she hailed us a cab and pulled me away to rescue. The next morning I was bruised, sore, and I think I had a hangover for two days. She cried as she looked at herself in the mirror and thought she was a loser. It was a very, very low point.
But last night I said, “Can you believe how we thought that night that no one would ever love us again?” And she shook her head and said, “That was a horrible night.” But for some reason we started to laugh about it. “We were so stupid!” I agreed laughing even harder. Before we knew it we were holding our stomachs we were laughing so hard, wiping the tears from our eyes.
We’ve come a long way.
We are both intelligent, successful women in our own right who not only have good kids, great friends, good jobs, but who in our forties (yes forties) have wonderful lives AND it just so happens, men who love us. We marveled that once again we are going through something similar at the same time. She is dating a boy she used to date in high school. He and Harry were on the same football team together.
Amazing to consider.
Things have a way of coming around again.
“What kind of wedding do you want this time?” she asked. Something very different from the big church wedding with girls in forest green velvet and satin I know for certain.
“Something extremely simple and small.” I remark quickly. We gather up our towels and trod off toward the 1000 steps we need to climb leaving the beach. As we talk, we walk past a bride and a groom exchanging vows with about 15 happy onlookers.
“So do I – but maybe not that simple.” she says as we look at the wedding party standing in a huddle as people like us walk past them.
“Whatever you do, don’t get married right on the beach like this because no one will hear anything.” I warn her.
“What kind of ring do you want?” She asked. Something real I think to myself but don’t say out loud.
“Harry has talked about going to nice antique shops and picking out something vintage…or not…we’ll see…” I say with a smile knowing that whatever we do will be perfect.
“I could see that… I like how Harry thinks.” She says. And I smile.
“Me too.” I say