It’s like a postcard from Paris, when you’ve seen the real thing, it’s like finding out your diamond is from an old promise ring, a call back from your fortune teller, she read your cards upside down . . . the meanest thing you ever did is come around. And now I’m ruined. The Band Perry
Nothing like a little irony. Against my better judgment, on account of I have some possible new friends coming out to my messy country house and haven’t cleaned a lick, I am writing a post. Here’s what prompted this impromptu post:
I was on the tele with the Southern Fried Bestie, ‘splaining my frustrating tendency to “give folks a chance” when she brought up my three strikes rule. Went something like:
SFW: It’s the last true evidence of my human-ness. I cannot let it go.
CdW: Yes, and I love that about you. It just hurts to watch you get hurt.
SFW: But there was a time when I needed a shot at redemption. Or just a shot.
CdW: Sigh. It’s true. And you are so final when you are done. I love that about you.
And she does. My magic bestie has both driven me to distraction and held my line for me when I’m tired. Sure, we have rolled our eyes, in that way that Southern women do, at each other, misunderstood a sideways glance and danced at three a.m. to Kid Rock in sweltering humidity and whiskey. I have weathered many words of disdain from both family and friends on the nature of our friendship—this strange sisterhood that seems to never bleed for long—but, sometimes if you look hard into history, you find these connections in storybooks. Turns out, as long as I turn a deaf ear to naysayers, weez fine, thanks.
So, finally, for the civilian world to see, let me “unveil” my friendship with Camenae de Welles.
She is possessive. She pees around me like a tree in the woods that has her name carved upon it. She is distrusting of those who set up camp under my limbs. She can be belligerent, haughty and even grating in attitude toward someone who “smells funny.” She is stubborn, slow to forgive, aggressive over her son (calls him “my kid” when making a point) and to this day is unsure that my husband is good enough for me. She even belches, loudly, at the table when the food is good—something I have fought for years to eject out of my sons’ behavior. While we’re at this: when I tell her to bite me, she does. Hard. Pisses me off, I tell you. Those are some serious teeth in her mouth.
She adores me. Defends me. Never loses faith in my intent and fights outsiders until they prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they will leave my skin and my soul in the condition in which she left them. She allows for my input on the rearing of her beloved cub, and as prideful as she can be, tells everyone within a mule mile that I am the one who taught her how to make gravy. (Every time.) If I call, she answers. If I ask her to trust me, she does. She’s even taken to belching AFTER the dishes are cleared—and asks her son to do the same. When I ask her to give someone a chance, she does. Once. She has never taken a single, solitary word I have said in confidence and used it against me, recorded me for future wrestle holds or said my name with spite in her mouth. She remembers my birthday, my favorite color and holds my deepest secrets and fears with the ferocity of a Roman warrior. If I say, “get ‘em,” she does. If I say, “back off,” she does. If I say, “I’m sorry,” she forgives me. She secretly loves my husband . . . but won’t lose ground in case of emergency.
And I kinda like that she bites me sometimes. Laws, sometimes I need a bit of my own medicine.
As a kitchen witch, I have never grooved so easily with another soul when somethin’s a bubbling, never swayed so gracefully against an oven, chopped so efficiently on twenty-year-old wood as when she is standing there, golden hair flung behind her back, holding out a bouquet of backyard parsley. She is silent, respectful and in union with my bones as I spin through sauces and oils, ancient in her companionship when I bless a bread and sacred in her bond when my food/magic touches a plate underneath an evening whisper of fireflies and semi-tropical breezes. She, of all women, communes in a manner that would make Egypt weep at the divine feminine nature of spoonhand to heart—and for that, my friends, I will never leave her curvaceous side.
I want to grow up and be her one day. She’s got friendship down cold and I still fail like teenager, several times per year, on that one.
So, back to the tele conversation. She’s right, you know. I give folks too many chances, hang on too long, ask for my kin to bear the weight of my decisions and variously drag them all through too many asshats, posers and villains. I can’t count on my fingers or toes how many “no, not again” or “fine, but do I have to watch?” or “damn it. Who’s coming to dinner?” moments I have put my tribe through—but nary a time have I heard “I told you so” when the compost pile starts to stink.
Now that’s love and devotion, y’all. And I’m not ever carving that out of my life when some tortured spirit whispers in my ear: she’s poison. Get rid of her. It’s at that moment I wonder: hey, there pot. You calling kettle?
Naw. My bestie ain’t going nowhere. I hereby denounce any moments of doubt that have been spoonfed into my worn psyche and Oathe that place in my heart, all wildflower and wheatgrass, as hers. And call it: good.
Once upon a time, I needed that kind of unconditional fairness—and Cam gave it to me on a silver platter. Lots of folks wanna play in my magic yard, but very few would stay to clean up the poo. My magic bestie has a professional grade scooper for just this occasion.
This post is dedicated to anyone out there who ever loved another soul and called it “friend.” Sometimes, there is a happy ending. Keep an open heart, for no matter how bruised, it will beat on—and everything else is dying, y’all.
And, for my dear, unfaltering Jillian: Towanda! (I’m older and have more insurance.)
You have ruined me for half-friends.