I love it when the universe hears me. Mostly it listens to me when what I need is a slap in the face or a reminder of my own place (insignificant) in the grand scheme of things.

Today, though, I guess the universe was feeling benevolent. I guess it knew I was having a sad day. After I wrote about those few dear friends who speak my language, I got to talk to Q for a bit this afternoon. I called to tell her Grace had had her first peppermint pattie (“peppermintpat” in our verbiage, and our mutual favorite candy) and we managed to talk live for a good 15 minutes.

Birthday girl, fellow proud redhead, a godmother to my first child, short-short wearer, Doctor Pepper drinker, occasional roommate at the Regency Hotel when traveling for our first jobs, tour-guide in Assissi, fellow secret country music fan, counselor, entertainer, reminder of what it’s all about: thank you.

(QABM – you fellow native speakers know what that stands for)

I wrote this to you, Q, after Grace and I visited in January 2007. Again, for posterity:

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Q, D, T, and O … we had such a wonderful visit and loved seeing your town!

Thank you, too, Q, for being an incredibly rare lifetime friend – if not the rarest and most special. Being with you feels like home. I am amazed to observe the ways that we’ve taken roads that are both incredibly different and profoundly similar … and feel so blessed that the way you get me instantly, with patience and insight and without judgment, hasn’t changed. I think back to the first time I met the long-legged, short-shorted redhead in the Wilson courtyard in the fall of 1992 … how far we’ve come! How many friends know what I wrote my thesis about, how many days early I turned it in, the name of my freshman year boyfriend, what I wore to my 21st birthday, that I cried almost weekly in my first job out of college, what my favorite song, book, and movie are, what I thought the day I met my now husband, and a million other of the mundane details that make up a life? How many friends were there with me the night I broke my leg running naked in the snow, the night before my wedding, and within weeks of my first child’s birth? I can’t articulate how much you mean to me – and how much the shared history that brought us here is part of the bedrock of my life … thank you.

“But there’s no vocabulary for love within a family.
Love that’s lived in, but not looked at.
Love within the light of which all other love finds speech.”

– T S Eliot