I have written a lot about friendships, about those few fertile times in my life that I’ve made special ones, about how few true native speakers I’ve met, about the immense value I place on my female friends. I was with one of those native speakers this weekend, and I can’t fully articulate the joy, ease, and sheer grace of being in her presence.
Q is unquestionably one of the people I love most dearly in the entire world. She is one of my first child’s godmothers. She is also a redhead with brown eyes, a combination I didn’t realize was unusual until I was an adult. We don’t see each other enough, but when we do we slip immediately back into shorthand. I think her husband is wonderful and she and Matt have private jokes of their own. She gets all of my references. She gets me.
I met Q 19 years ago, on a hot early-fall afternoon in Princeton. She is everything I want to be, myself. She is smart, funny, loving, honest, occasionally clumsy and frankly beautiful. We share a commonality of both history and outlook that is unique in my life. She has the rare position, shared by a few, of having both witnessed and deeply impacted my becoming who I am now.
We are peers and have moved through the stages of life largely in tandem. Some of our choices have been different but our essential values are near-identical. It was next to Q that I ran out Princeton’s FitzRandolph gate for the first time (legend holds that you cannot exit this gate until the day of your graduation, which is the day we did so). She was one of the first people I called when I got my heart broken, got into business school, got engaged, got pregnant. She wore blue as my bridesmaid and I wore coral as hers. We’ve talked about wrinkles and mortgages and crock pots and the delights and fears that populate our every single day as mothers.
Together we rode a ferris wheel on Saturday afternoon. High over Chicago, in a crystal-clear, cold blue sky. With our first-born children sitting, together, across from us. Up, up, up into the cloudless blue. Knocked around a little by the wind. Sitting next to each other we gazed around, laughing, wide-eyed. And then we rode slowly down down, completing the arc set in motion so many years ago.
I can’t think of many people I’m more grateful to have next to me on this ride.
I love you, Q. Thank you.
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