Saturday, August 23, 2008

J and I

I'm home, as mentioned last time, from all my nomadic wanderings. It is always good to climb into my bed after any length of time away, and this was no exception. It was extra-wonderful to get to spend some quality time with two of my longest-standing friends, G and J.

J and I met our freshman year at Big Catholic U. I was a transplant from a coastal town in a mid-Atlantic state, and J was a native New Englander, complete with the elongated "ah" sound in her speech. (She takes Baahths. She cuts the donut in haahlf.) She came to my dorm room with one of my roommates, who explained that they were in Latin class together. She was adorable... quirky, well-read, with a vocabulary that made you feel smarter just to listen to her talk, beautifully Irish with brown-to-auburn hair and freckles.

She also came with quite a family history-- not my story to tell, but it broke my heart to hear of the way her parents let her down. Within a year or so, J and I were part of the same crowd-- a bunch of English and Theater majors (I was struggling along with Bio and Philosophy, myself) who lived, it seemed, from play to play.

Four girls and three guys, and the guys all shared the same first name, S. Everyone, it seemed, was in love with one or another S at some point. In the middle of sophomore year, I had a dream about one of the S's, and, reader, I married him. Eventually. J was there for it all. She was a witness.

J and I attended my first screening of the Rockly Horror Show together. J and I lamented together over the unavailability of our designated S's. J and I had birthdays that took place within a week of one another. For a description of my first ever grown-up dinner party, hosted by J, see the first paragraph of this sermon.

J made my wedding cake. J was Larry-O's godmother, when eventually he came along. J took me to my first non-baby-encumbered movie after he was born. J and I saw one another with great regularity (several times a month, at least) the entire time S and Larry and I lived near Beantown.

Eventually S's career took us away from that home and we landed here, in Carousel City. J and I still had contact, but less as the years went by. We celebrated one another's weddings, births, and we commiserated through one another's divorces. J was at my ordination.

These days, J is in a new phase of her life, having relocated to the tiny island she so loves. These last months have seen us talking on the phone more than we had in years. It is such a gift to think that this friendship can still be a part of my life, that I can have that exquisite experience of talking to someone who knows me almost as well as family-- no, better, if I'm honest with myself. And J has started a blog. So now I feel our check-ins will be even more regular, our contact with one another's lives even greater.

So, if you want to read some lovely writing by a woman who is working very hard at keeping it real... scoot on over to New Islander. Say hi to J. Tell her Mags sent you.

Photo by J.


JemB said...

My god, is that ME you're talking about? I don't even recognize myself. I cannot thank you enough for these words. I am weeping with love and gratitude and a certain nostalgia as I write this. I am so grateful to be loved by such a wonderful, extraordinary woman such as you.

Magdalene6127 said...

Well, sweetie, it's you, and I haven't even told the half of it. Love you right back. Thanks for continuing to be in my life.