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.]