Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Friendship in a Cup

I have a friend, whom I have known longer than all my other friends.  At least the ones I still speak to regularly.  She has long legs, an exotic name, a unique cadence to her speech.  Long hair, which I have heard her describe as, a sign of good breeding.  (I don't know about this, but she is my friend, so I say nothing.)  She rides a motorcycle, and her idea of a family dog is a Great Dane.  When we met, we were from the same bland town, with the same government job.  But since then, she has lived in several different cities and on a Virgin Island.  She has visited countries that I don't even have a desire to see, such is her taste for adventure.   

In short, she is prone to flights of fancy, like only a beautiful woman can be.  Fancy becoming reality more often than not.  I don't begrudge her this.  She is my friend.

Why, I do not know, as we have always been so different.  But she is my friend.

This beautiful, exotic friend of mine, recently left her sea side cottage (It may be a tract home, twenty minutes from the ocean.  I don't know.  I don't want to know.  I like my version better.) to return to this bland town for a visit.  While she was here, she rubbed some of the beige off the place, revealing a bit color that is there, if you care to look.  We drank overpriced coffee, while our kids scattered banana bread crumbs all over the carpet.  We swapped recipes.  We watched dumb television.  We went out to dinner and ate only appetizers.  We saw a movie; a documentary we knew our husbands would never go see.  And, she was a great help with my kids, when I really needed it.

And then she was gone.  A month is so short, really.

A week, or so, later, a small envelope arrived in my mail box.  Ooo.  Real mail.  What a treat!  It was a card, thanking me for everything.  I loaned her a car seat and a couple of un-missed toys.  Worthy of a card?  Maybe, maybe not.  But it gets better.  The card contained a Starbucks gift card.  Wooohooo!

You have to understand.  Starbucks is a luxury around here.  It may not even be that good, but it's scarceness makes it seem so.  A Starbucks gift card is like plastic gold.  Especially this close to the holidays.  Have you ever had a peppermint mocha?  It is like Christmas in a cup.

Even so,  I waited a few days.  I had to go when I didn't have the kids with me, because they, somehow, have come to view Starbucks a Scone Hut, and I was not willing to share.  Sorry.  I just wasn't.  Besides, I didn't know how much was on the card.  How much is the loan of an old car seat worth?  Not much, right?

So, almost giddy with excitement,  I walked into my neighborhood Strabucks, and I ordered the giganti-ventiest cup of espresso infused milk, sugar, and chocolate I have ever dared order.

"Would you like whipped cream on that?" asked the friendly barista.

"Yes.  Yes, I would."

Why, you ask?

Two reason.  One, it was free.  I figured there had to be at least five bucks on that card, or she would not have bothered to send it, and I wanted to spend every penny.  Two, I had recently lost a little weight, and I wanted to treat myself.

What, you ask?  Aren't you worried you will undo all of your hard work, you ask?

Well, yes, and no.  You see, I have to be careful.  I have, over the years, put an embarrassing amount energy into the idea that my life would be perfect, if only I were thinner.  I would hate to go to all the trouble of actually getting thin, only to be disillusioned.  As long as I am not thin, there is always hope for that perfect life.  You understand, right?

"Would you like a receipt?" asked my barista.

"Yes, please," I say.

"Here you go.  The remaining balance on your card in $20.25"

Twenty five dollars!  Seriously?  Woo-double-hoo!

Can I send a thank card for a thank you card?  I suppose I could.  Or, I could write a nice little story about my beautiful friend, letting the world know how beautiful she is.  (I used the word four times, if you want a tally.)

[The painting is Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, a watercolor by Warwick Goble and I found it here.]


  1. can I be your friend? It's Stacey, right? hehe...Still loving your writing!!

  2. She does seem to have a "colorful" life. Well, not "seem to" - she does - at least in comparison to mine.

    I have a friend who skis in Colorado, hikes, travels a lot for her daughter's soccer games, takes a bunch of kids on a retreat every June, entertains, goes to Disney, gets together with friends for a week at the beach every summer, has more vacations during the summer, sends her kids to summer camp,flies to NY with her mother for the weekend,knows every restaurant in town, and so on...
    I used to envy her, but I came to realize that I don't want to be on the go all the time. (Her family of 5 don't appear rich...where do they get all that money? LOL)
    Anyway, I guess it's all relative. People have oood and ahhhd over a few things about my life...and I guess I can understand their reasons why.
    I'm sure the queen (your friend) envies you too. I can name a few things right of the bat: you're smart, you have a law degree, you're a witty and gifted writer, you're raising three young children and still sane...however, I get what you've said. :)
    You have a treasure of a friend. She sounds like a keeper.
    Enjoy your coffee...don't share that gift card with anyone!

  3. Anita, I am lucky that we are so different. I don't envy her. That is her, not me. I am happy in my small world. Happy all the time? No. Sane? Questionable most days. But I am content. I think she is the same way.

  4. Very beautiful post, my friend. Your generous, loving tribute reveals even more about you than about her...I used to envy people for their glamourous lives all the time until I figured out my little, happy place in the world, and I can see you have, too, and appreciate your friend even more for it, right?
    A $25 Starbucks gift card is like plastic gold - enjoy, and no spilling this time! :)
    I really love that illustration - it's gorgeous! xo