I once sent my friend,Cormorant, a letter that said “This is what’s been going on in my life.” I put it in a padded manilla mailing envelope, along with 7 discs of music entitled “Soundtrack to a Leopard Love Affair”. She sent me a gold painting of a tree with her swirly surfing writing encapsulating its edges in doubt and alchemy and love and water. We were in Art Love, which is a very powerful thing,as anyone who has ever fallen in love with the artist as a byproduct of their talent can attest to. She married a woman who photographs celebrities, and returned to champion her waves and women’s rights in San Diego.
I then moved on to sending letters surrounding a moment along with a soundtrack story to my friend, Hart, who always apologized for never sending letters back. It never mattered. It was almost more fun to know that there was no expected reciprocation. I sent her open highways, and a love left in Mississippi, and a rebelliously drunken feminist statement on singularity. I kind of loved her, but in an abstract way. I would crash on her couch, some weekend nights, and she would tiptoe in to wake me in the 11am sunlight, wearing nothing but a pair of panties, and offering me orange juice or, once, a kitten. (The kitten is now 9 years old and has to live with my brother.) I fell in love with my husband, during these times, and one day she stood behind the bar and asked if he was taking her woman away from her. He said “maybe”, which I now know is his way of saying “yes”. (It’s one of those things he does.) Hart married a woman who isn’t always there and moved across to the other ocean and took her last name so she could sound like a cowboy on her resume.
My best friend, Dylan, and I, would put her son to bed and then sit on her porch on muggy summer nights, smoking and drinking and meandering over topics until we both got tired or she got tired and I got restless and went out into the night while she went into her dreams. She liked to kiss me when she was drunk and her first tattoo (out of what became many)was one that matched with me, on a morning after we’d fallen asleep and woken up with Jack Daniels between our teeth. She borrowed one of my goddess dresses and we went dancing into the night, where she met her future husband and left me behind, for the hills of Tennessee and too much time on her hands.
I think the best friendships are really their own kind of love affair. I think it’s important to remember the gifts of memory given, even when people are gone. I think the biggest gift someone can give you, is Freedom. Freedom to be you, in whatever shape or mood or mode you’re in at the moment, and loving you still and fiercely.
I’m actually tired at a (somewhat) decent moment tonight, so I’ll end on this nice-feeling note, and I’ll just leave this here: