I used to live in Michigan. It was bleak, and dreary, hazy and muggy, itchy and scratchy (mostly because I'm allergic to poison ivy, which is the state grass, and because there are tons of mosquitoes). I had a few bright spots in all that bleakness, two of them were my husband and daughter and the third one was my friend Jackie.
When I lived in Michigan, Jackie was quite possible the one person that actually kept me from going insane and running back to sunny Colorado. I first met Jackie at the video store she ran in our small town in S.W. Michigan. On that first meeting I thought, "She's kind of a nut case". And she got to prove it, when my daughter was less than a week old my husband and I went in to rent a couple of movies and that 'crazy lady' that runs the store came up and asked to hold my baby. I didn't know what to do, I wasn't sure it was a very good idea. Besides the baby was practically brand new; oh how that made it even more tempting for Jackie. Since I didn't know what else to do, I let her hold my baby. She didn't just stand there with her in her arms and admire her. She held my baby up close and sniffed and kissed and loved her up one side and down the other and walked off around the store with her and talked and talked to her. I looked over at my husband and said, "Do you think I made a mistake letting her hold our baby?" He just shrugged and said, "What do you think she's going to do, run out with her and leave her business unattended?" And all I could think was "God, I hope not".
So this routine continued, every time we went to get movies, Jackie would come and take my baby from me while I was picking out movies. And then it would take forever to get my baby back into my own arms so that we could go home. It took me a little while to get used to some one I didn't know just coming right up and taking my baby and giving her more loving attention than I'd ever seen a person give to another persons child. Eventually, I got used to it and started enjoying that I had a few moments with my arms free to peruse the items on the shelf. I also started talking with Jackie and I came to realize that I really liked her and that she wasn't crazy; or more like, she was crazy in all the ways I could really appreciate.
Fast forward a little over a year. I had finally quit breastfeeding and was feeling cooped up and ready to get out of the house for a few hours a couple days a week. I decided to ask Jackie at the video store for a part time job. After filling out an application and waiting a week or so I got the job. I worked there for about a year (?) and in that time Jackie and I became very close friends. Then Jackie and her husband decided to close the store. Once we were not boss and employee our friendship really blossomed. Over the next couple of years we spent so much time talking while driving the back roads of Michigan and peeing in weird random places, and laughing, crying and a good share of complaining, and comforting and supporting. It turned out that she was/is everything a best friend/bosom buddy/kindred spirit is supposed to be. We could share with each other without being judged, we could be honest with each other about everything, we could tell each other everything and often did/do, we never worried that what we told each other would end up all over town. She is an amazing once in a lifetime friend.
When I moved away 9 years ago, it broke my heart that I couldn't take her with me, that we couldn't just create our own little commune somewhere and live happily ever after. I still want that little commune and that happily ever after. But it probably ain't ever gonna happen, but I'll still hope for it.
We try to visit whenever we can, but it is just so expensive to travel 2,000 miles from one small town to another small town. I haven't seen her in 4 years. In those 4 years her husbands aorta burst and it was an extremely close call for him; she had a brain aneurysm that ruptured while she was at work, and that also was an extremely close call; she had close family that died; her husband was out of work for an extended period of time. The guilt that I feel for not being able to go out there when either one of them were sick, turns my stomach when I allow myself to think about it for too long.
She and her husband had plans to come visit us. In about 4 days she would be in Montana, visiting her son and 3 or 4 days later she would be up here visiting ME! I was soo excited, even though it was only going to be a few days. I had plans of just talking to her face to face for hours on end, nothing else we did mattered as much as doing that. To see her laugh and smile, to reach out and touch her arm, to hug her..... I've missed these things more than I realized or allowed myself to know.
I learned today that she won't be able to take that vacation after all. Corporate ass-holes have put her husband in an uncomfortable position. One that makes going on vacation seem like a very bad idea. It is a huge disappointment for all of us. It really hurts to lose the opportunity to see each other.
I plan on doing what ever I can to make it possible to see Jackie before the summer is over. According to google if I start walking now, I could be there around this time next month.... or maybe I should work on the commune thing so that they can move here and be within EASY walking distance. One way or another I gotta see my friend, it has been way too long.