The mirror wasn’t making me happy. For 3 days prior I subjected myself to the “I am going to see an old friend diet”, i.e. no wheat so my nose wouldn’t be runny, no dairy so I wouldn’t have black circles under my eyes and nothing that would bloat my tummy. It’s not every day that you get together with someone you haven’t seen in 17 years, who reappeared out of the blue and whom you want to impress because it’s in the female nature, or at least in mine, to want an old friend think that you haven’t aged like a toad. At 47, I am allowed the last throes of vanity.
The outfit changed 3 times – one wants to looks like one hasn’t made too much of an effort. So, no to the black tight pants (too dressy) but yes to the tight jeans for an indication of a casual Sunday afternoon. No to the long sleeve t-shirts and yes to the tank top that showcases the toned arms (thank you whisk and rolling pin). And thank god for Southern California and 80 degrees weather in October.
Eventually, I have to give it up. The hair is not right, the make up too subtle – it just has to do. I had no idea that seeing someone after such a long time would throw my self esteem in such a tantrum. After all, we were just going to have lunch, talk about the last 20 years of our lives, probably remember the good old times, when we were young and foolish and then go back to our respective sides of the Coast (mine being a lot better than his snow-all-year round one…).
And then we saw each other and I was reminded why friendships are the backbone of one’s life – because it doesn’t matter what you look like, what stories the lines on your face have to tell or if your hair has gone all white – a good friend is like your favourite pair of shoes, it’s like the shawl you reach for while watching tv on a winter night, it makes you feel comfortable, protected, at ease. With a friend no narrative is needed – yes, we did talk a bit about the last 20 years of our lives but it was easy to fill the gaps just by being together. A friend can hold your pain and your happiness and your silliness with no judgement, wishing for nothing in return.
It was an easy and lovely day, during which I didn’t worry for one moment about my hair or the circles under my eyes – I just had fun with an old friend, a friend who was kind enough to tell me I hadn’t changed a bit.
But M, if you are reading this, we still look damn good, even though I could tell you didn’t go through the same mirror drama I put myself through. Ah, to be born a man…