Joshilyn arrived yesterday afternoon with Sam and Maisy in tow, and Monkey and Sam were LITERALLY engrossed in a discussion of the finer points of various Pokemon beasties before the door had even shut behind them. For a couple of glorious hours, Joss and I got to sit and relax and chat while Chickadee dressed Maisy in a variety of her outgrown clothing and generally led her around like a wee and precious pet lamb, and the boys bounced off the walls upstairs (where we could hear them but not be overly disturbed by them).
I dished up dinner earlyish (Chris’ most excellent chicken curry with sweet potatoes and coconut rice, which if you have not tried you must go make RIGHT NOW because it is THAT GOOD) and the children regaled us with riddles as we ate, then we left the children and their pajamas and a movie with a sitter, and headed out to Borders.
Joss gave a great appearance, as usual, and as usual I had to restrain from blurting out to anyone I saw there, “She’s my friend! Isn’t she awesome?” Heh.
Some of my local friends came out to hear her speak, and afterwards we all came back here to the house and broke out the wine and a bucket of margaritas, because we are WILD and CRAZY, and also because if there was ever a week when I DONE EARNED MYSELF SOME LIQUOR, this was it. We all sat around and gabbed and giggled and I got to tell all of my favorite Joshilyn stories to my other friends, and Joss is of course always full of fabulously hilarious anecdotes, and we all stayed up too late and didn’t care.
I found myself relaying two very formative tales and loving Joss’ commentary.
First, I told the story of that fateful weekend when my life had completely fallen apart and was lower than low—I had been dumped, fired, and generally wrung out and was not loving life—and Joshilyn opened her home to Kira and me for a bit of Girl Therapy. I was UTTERLY CONVINCED that weekend that I would never recover from the mess I’d made of my life. No one would ever love me! I would never find a job I liked! I would die alone with a million cats who would lick my eyeballs after I expired! We had fun on that trip, don’t get me wrong, but any time there was a lull in activity I would begin weeping into my wine, telling Kira that she was so beautiful with the blush of true love (this was, I think, shortly before she and Clay got married), and telling Joshilyn that Scott was such a doll and WOE IS ME I WILL NEVER FIND MY SCOTT!
“Oh, she was PITIFUL,” Joss interjected, as I wove the sad story. “You have just never seen someone so convinced that she will never get hers. It was SAD. And I TOLD HER that her time was coming, but she didn’t believe me.”
That’s true; I didn’t.
There was also that weird time period where Otto and I first got back into touch with each other, the time that came before my first trip to see him in Georgia after we had decided to Try Again, the time that felt so unreal and impossible that I never blogged about it.
To recap: Otto and I had dated shortly after my divorce, for about a year. It ended badly. He wanted to stay friends, I wanted to stab him repeatedly with an ice pick for breaking my heart. We hadn’t spoken for a couple of years when we started emailing again about nothing in particular, and about four emails in I said “What are we doing here?”
Otto responded with what I now know to be his version of a declaration of love from a position of fear. The problem was that the email basically translated to, “I’ve thought about you every day for two years and I think you’re the one for me, but I can’t make any promises so don’t have any expectations.” I was ENRAGED. I mean, HOW DARE HE?? Joshilyn conducted many a phone therapy session with me while I crafted my response to him, a masterpiece of an email (if I do say so myself) (by the way, matters of the heart should NEVER BE CONDUCTED VIA EMAIL, learn from our stupidity, please) which boiled down to “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it I DESERVE A REAL MAN SO GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER OR GO AWAY BECAUSE I AM NOT WASTING MY TIME OTHERWISE.”
I forget how many days it was between my mail to him and when he finally responded (in his defense, he was out of town for a bit, which I knew), but I’m pretty sure I called Joss and cried every single day during that time. “I’m never going to hear from him again,” I would sob. “He opened that door and I walked in and now he’s walking away. I did the right thing but OHMYGODITSUCKS.”
“And I KNEW,” Joss announced to my captive audience of new(er) friends—who prior to this probably had not realized the extent of my many neuroses—“I knew the moment it happened. I told Kira, even. I said ‘That boy is hooked and he is gonna man up and they are going to get married.’ And I was RIGHT!”
And I had to admit that yes, she had called it, and even though she knew she had patiently endured my sniveling and pining.
This morning as Joss and the kids were getting ready to leave, she said to me, “I like your posse. You have a good group here.” And I agreed, readily and wholeheartedly. I have found My People and they will come to my house and drink margaritas and listen to stories of when I was sad and lost and ridiculous and we will laugh until we cry and email each other the next day to say how much fun we had.
My life is far from perfect, of course. Really, whose is? But I look back on those difficult times and barely recognize that person. Some of the darkest days of my life are so absurd as to be comical, now, because LOOK AT ALL OF THIS. How could I not have known? How could I have doubted?
And more importantly, how did Joshilyn even stand me? I needed a good smack upside the head.