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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Best Friends

Natalie Merchant - Kind And Generous

I grew up in a ‘guy environment’ – a tire shop, and a racetrack.  My comfort level with the opposite species derives from this and feeds from my fascination with the Martian mind of the male sex.  I am friends with women too, but the connection isn’t as deep, in general.  I lack the need to join in a circle of empowerment and sing bitch songs at the top of my lungs. 

The few with whom I am close are as varied as the snowflakes in my blizzardy mind.  They are of all walks, religions, anti-religions, of all moralities and maturity levels.  Like women who are magnets for the bad boys, I seem to be the magnet for the drama princesses. 

My lips love to spill forth the contents of my chattery brain, and perhaps this is why I surround myself with people whom I’m constantly opinionating to.  My nature has never been a deep dark secret – rarely do I wait on an invitation to give my take on your life. 
Two weeks ago, the friend I’ve had the longest (32 years) and I had an argument.  They’ve been quite frequent these last couple of years, and, as family does, we tend to sweep things out of sight and pretend to move on.  We have very different views on a lot of things, but I love her still.  However, like many couples, you can love each other and still drift apart. 

After this particular argument, I tried to explain and stand up for myself in our misunderstanding, to no avail.  No response, nothing.  What hurts is the obvious disregard for my feelings, the lack of understanding on her part.  Yes, I’m brash at times, but I made an effort.  I haven’t seen effort on her part after these arguments in way too long. 

And, this time it’s different.  I’ve seen the replacement on the wall for some time, with someone who is willing to feed off of the drama.  I get the appeal – opposition is difficult, and takes work.  I’m sad because it feels she has given up.  I thought we were in this for life at this point.

Through all of this, though, and for the last twenty years, I’ve had a rock that sometimes sits so quietly in the rush of swirling drama around me, that I often forget to acknowledge her.  Robin listens to my rants, she tries to impart her logical take on things but backs off after having her say.  She’s kind, generous, beautiful and fun. 

I don’t often enough take the time to be grateful for this woman who’s shared half of her life with me.  Part of this latest contention with Lisa has been having her new BFF lorded over me as an example of everything I supposedly do wrong.  Then, I turn around and shove my problems with her on Robin in a torrent of phone calls and endless tirades. 

As often as I’ve wiped my muddy feet all over it, the welcome mat is always there.. 

Every year, my husband treats me like a princess for my birthday, whereas my family likes to pop every balloon in the room.  After witnessing two decades of this stress, last year she and her husband proclaimed that no matter what, I was going to have a stress-free, unforgettable birthday.  They treated us, and my other best friend, to my favorite theatrical production in the city (Wicked!), which had to have cost them a fortune.  They did this just because, for whatever reason, they appreciate me.  It’s difficult for me to grasp this concept, because it’s not something prevalent in the crowd around me.  Not anything said, anyway.

In my old age, I’ve learned that we can’t put a price on a memory, but it just goes to her generosity that money isn’t much of an objection with these two.  Our weekly dinners are something to cherish, and her unwavering support is a lifeline to me.

Never once have I had to worry about men beating on her, family driving her to the nuthouse, bickering between us or any of the other things that wear this old girl out.  She keeps a promise, and shows up when she says she will.

If, like me, you have this one friend in your life, the link to what little normalcy I can muster, don’t let go.  I may be addicted to the drama, but without her I’d have no retreat from it. 

Thanks, Robin, for being my friend.  Thanks for being the anchor in my never-ending tugs-of-war. 

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