My best and oldest friend and I went out today for shopping and lunch; such a girly thing to do but we haven’t spent much time together this summer.
She lives half of the year in my town here in NE Pennsylvania and the other half in Sarasota, FL.. She and her husband are retired for quite some time. They are what is referred to as “filthy rich”. She has housekeepers and gardeners and pool boys, and maintenance people all over the place. They don’t flaunt their wealth in gaudy ostentatious ways but nonetheless they enjoy a certain level of comfort that most of us only dream about.
Because I have been spending so much time with D’Bear and commute back and forth to Rochester a couple of times every month she and I haven’t had as much time together as we used to. Today it really hit me just how far apart our lives have become. She is stuck in a dull routine. She doesn’t go anywhere. She doesn’t do anything interesting. She and her husband live lives of dull monotony but they seem content so who am I to criticise?
Today she got in my car as we headed out to Scranton for some shopping and she was jabbering away, catching me up on the doings of her family of six. Suddenly she looked over at me as I was driving and said ” Do you have purple stripes in your hair?!” I had just had my colorist put in some eggplant-colored lowlights and then some purple-ish strips along the underside of my hair. I thought it was fun and loved the new look!
I said “Yeah, do you like it?”
Now I thought she would say, as I would have if the shoe had been on the other foot ” That’s cool! What a neat look! I think that’s great!” or something along those lines.
No. She said “Ummm, …Okaaaaaayyy…” and then she changed the subject.
She’s always been like a big sister to me as well as being my closest friend and confidante so her lack of enthusiasm hit me like a slap in the face. I chose to let it go instead of calling her on it.
Two years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer and during the first mastectomy the doctors discovered a malignant tumor in her lung. They removed the middle lobe of her right lung as well as her left breast and then she spent six months undergoing intensive chemotherapy. She has since had the other breast removed as well.
I went down immediately after her first surgery and spent a couple of weeks taking care of her. I was so afraid of losing her. When you have no other family, then friends like her become your family. I couldn’t NOT go! She was such a fighter. She seldom complained even when the chemo left her barely able to move or eat or sleep. I finally left when I saw her beginning to rally and her youngest daughter was able to take my place caring for her mother.
Since then my dear friend has gone from vibrant youth to frail oldster. She acts old. She talks old. Her attitudes have even changed into those of an “OLD” woman!
Oh, she still loves me as I do her but we are in two different worlds right now. I am coming into my own with a life I had only dreamed of a few years ago. Since meeting D’Bear I am truly loving life in a way I hadn’t been able to do for decades! She is happy for me but in all honesty she often times thinks I am off my nut! It is so hard for her to relate to my lifestyle. We are only nine years apart chronologically but we are eons apart in attitude. It has gotten so bad that I won’t even let her drive because she doesn’t seem to be able to find the accelerator , only the brakes!! She brakes every time she drives downhill!!! Arrgghh!!!
I would have thought that having beat death she would be more open to life, more understanding, more vibrant and sensitive to those around her. Wrong! She is simply stuck in her rich-girl world, completely cut off from what most of have to deal with on a daily basis. She can’t seem to understand that I am no longer financially able to fly to Norway with her for a cruise around the fjords or that I can’t take off for a weekend in Long Island where hotels start at $200 a night! Her days consist of talking on the phone and maybe running the dishwasher. Mine consist of draining water lines, worrying about the lack of insulation in my attic, or mending the hole in the woodshed roof.
Lord, give me strength to remain calm and understanding because she is a wonderful person and I love her like I have seldom cared for any other outside of my children.
But Lord, would you smack her upside her head and tell her to say something nice about my hair?
Meanwhile, this song ALWAYS makes me cry when I think of my dear friend, Wenche. May you share a park bench with me in eternity, old friend.