Thursday, June 16, 2011
God Made Girlfriends
But we order our McDoubles and cheeseburgers anyway. And as we nibble away, I notice three women sitting next to us engaged in animated conversation. All three wear their advanced years without notice. One cherubic, one aristocratic, and one a diamond-and-fur-coat model.
They laugh in unison, lean forward to share their tales. They're so engrossed in each other, they nearly forget their meals. And they laugh again.
Girlfriends. They must be girlfriends. Longtime friends. Church? Work? I try to imagine where they met. I visualize them young together, raising their kids, perhaps learning together how to survive the frigid Fairbanks winters, where it can get to 50 below zero day after day. Maybe they shop together.
I dip a french fry in catsup and I miss my girlfriends. Betty, Lin, Kathy, Susan, Karen, Jill, Teresa, Judy, Michelle, Linda, Lynda, Leah, Kelly, Sue, and my dear Celeste, and so many more ... My girlfriends mean the world to me because I find them refreshing, resilient. Engaging, interesting. Exciting. Humorous. Pertinent.
The three girlfriends next to me turns serious, and I hear snippets of conversations about health problems. Sisters? Could they be family, getting together for lunch while visiting a sick family member in the hospital?
Well, we're done with our lunch and it's time to go. Time for me to let go of these women. But I can't. I turn around. Say "excuse me." They stare at me. Inquisitively.
And then I say something stupid, like "Are you three girlfriends, because I think you are and I miss my girlfriends."
They laugh and their eyes twinkle as they acknowledge my supposition as truth, then invite me to be their girlfriend, too. Makes me smile.
So then I discover how they met. Not at a garden party. Skating rink or day care. Nope. They met 10 years ago on a cruise to Antarctica and have been close traveling buddies ever since. This month, they're exploring Alaska. Together.
Girlfriends. Ain't they grand.