I think my husband probably knows me better than anyone else. He is my best friend as well as my beloved and one thing that stood out from the beginning was that I felt completely at ease with him. I know I described this to my friends as feeling safe, but time has refined it to at ease.
With him there’s no pretense, I am myself wholly and unreservedly and that was a first in a romantic relationship for me. My spiritual life, my introverted self and my crazy nutty side are all seen and accepted, as is the dreamer, the writer and the psychic. The person who starts a lot of projects but finishes few, sometimes because I get bored, other times out of fear of failure. The woman who talks to discarnates, animals and sometimes even plants but not very many humans. The one who wants to help so much and cries sometimes because nobody wants what she has to offer. The me who loves a quiet coffee with the cat upon rising while my body slowly wakes up too…
One (of my two) best friends growing up was Cathie (not her real name). Our dads were best friends from their school days and about once a month (or sometimes more often) we’d get together for the weekend and a lot of fun was had over the years. In the summer our families would sometimes go caravanning together for a couple of weeks too. When we were old enough to write Cathie and I would exchange letters on a weekly basis and when I got a bit older I’d spend a week with their family during the summer holidays.
Cathie was the pretty and popular girl at her school ( a Piscean) while I was the odd one out at mine; awkward, self-conscious, wise waaaay beyond my years, forever making things and writing. We both loved reading, horses, and dancing. In a sense I recognize the two of us in the girls in the novel Beaches (made into a movie starring Bette Midler) but who was who is debatable!
Then I left home around 16 and for reasons unknown at least to me, we lost contact. I invited her to come and stay with me in the big city for a weekend, to go shopping and to the cinema etc, but she always declined and stopped writing too. We met once more, a family get together at their home and had a good time with some of her friends and boyfriend, but the connection between us was no longer there. Soon the birthday and Xmas cards fizzled out too.
Their whole family was invited to my first wedding in 1995, but only her dad showed. A few years later I heard via my dad that she was thinking about meeting up for a day in London, but by then I was simply not interested. If she could not even contact me herself, why should I blow 2 months savings from my underpaid job for a couple of hours? I declined and told my dad that after over 20 years of nothing she could start by writing (or phone) me herself. Not a word, which was fine with me.
To me that incident felt similar to when I first went to college and the in-crowd (who had ignored me for years and never even acknowledged my presence with a simple hello) suddenly wanted to be ‘’friends’’ and come and visit. They all got politely turned down. If I wasn’t cool enough to be friends with before, it was certainly not me they were suddenly interested in, just a place to crash for free on their shopping and clubbing outing. My friends were always welcome.
Then last night, in a different time, world and space… with a different past, we met again for a weekend at some retreat with people we both knew. We’d just turned 31 and 32 respectively. I was married to my now husband (who I met when I was 40 btw). Cathie and I were two of few people who were practically sober. Some had gone to their chalets/cabanas, others were falling asleep in the common on the rattan sofas and beanbags. We were sat on the back of her truck (?) flicking through an old photo album with pictures from our youth, laughing and remembering. Kodak instamatic days… Once again we were long lost sisters catching up. We’d been walking and talking for hours while the others had been larking around.
We picked up drinks and snacks from the open palapa style self serve ’’kitchen’’, and as I looked at the breaded chicken mini burgers, said out loud that if I wasn’t already a vegetarian, after seeing those I’d probably consider becoming one, and she laughed and said I was so funny.
She’d picked up her laptop (which was the same as mine but a different colour) and said she just wanted to check coz she’d posted a blog entry earlier on. I was delighted that she had started writing and looked forward to reading it. As we walked up a path towards one of many curious little nooks around the estate to sit down and have our snack, we talked about consciousness and our blogs. It was a very relaxed and easy conversation, a very joyous feeling of re-discovering who we’d become in the years apart rather than just telling our ‘’stories’’.
That’s when I woke up, still feeling that warm and fuzzy feeling that only a best friend relationship with an other woman can bring. Basking in the close feeling of it I kept my eyes closed for a few minutes.
It had felt as real as this life (of course), but in reflection it was interesting to observe the differences too. This Cathie had been an inch or two taller than me. It was peculiar how the elements all came together in one place; the temperate climate, the midnight if not exactly sun so at least far from dark, the past and the present, 3 continents, the gentle supportive atmosphere, my husband and our friends.
It had felt peculiar to experience having a different set of memories and a different past, and how we’d both knew our way around the place we were staying. Of course, the photo album does not exist in this lifetime, and I don’t know in what language we spoke.
For me, it’s the complete set of memories and a past quite different to my waking one that gives it away that this was no ordinary dream. Like in a regression or spontaneous download of another incarnation, but with greater freedom to access the information of that other me. Unusual also in it’s ordinariness perhaps, the absence of bizarre and crazy happenings and the rich sensory feast of real life.
I was not left with any residual desire to contact Cathie, nor any animosity which given the lack of closure I could almost have expected from myself. I don’t like loose ends but I’ve come to accept them. Our parts in each others lives had obviously played themselves out, given that it has been almost 30 yrs now of no contact. Let the past stay in the past rather than try to resuscitate a relationship just because we have ‘’history’’.
It did however highlight how much I would enjoy having a close (female) friend living nearby again. It’s been almost 5 years since I moved here.
So, whoever you are, wherever you’ve been [raises the iced coffee], cheers and know you are welcome.