Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Baja sunrise

This is an exercise I wrote a few weeks back. I'm posting it here with Carrie's permission.

Carrie is one of those lifelong friends you can say anything to, anything at all. She loves me even when I'm my worst self (amazing in itself), and our friendship is one of those where, no matter how much time it's been in between phone calls or emails, you just snap right back into it - even when it's been months.

That's about trust, I think - about trusting that we each have one another's best interests at heart, no matter what. It's about meeting fear with kindness, hurt with love. It's about always, always being as true to one another as we could be.

That has served us well. Even when there's a problem between us - and through 13 years, there have been problems - even though it's tough, we work it out. We always do; otherwise, we would lose something important, vital even. We would lose one another. And that, we cannot do.

Carrie, you mean the world to me. Thank you so much for being you.
My best friend Carrie and I went to San Jose del Cabo, at the southern tip of Baja, the winter when we were 25. She went with her husband Dave; they were actually on their honeymoon, but since they were staying at his best friend Ty's place, and Ty wanted to come, they invited me along too.

It is warm in Baja in winter - 70-80 degrees, beautiful balmy air that smells like salt and sand and tequila. We'd come from central Washington state, where it was 9 degrees in the sun and we worked for a slave-driving publisher.

We went for the best of reasons: true love. I'd met Ty earlier that year, and fell in love with him the moment I met him, I said yes in a flash. We pooled our funds and bought the cheapest tickets imaginable, and before I knew it, Ty was picking us up in a beat-up Bronco and handing us Pacificos from a cooler in the back. "Welcome to Mexico," he said, and I think I fell in love again.

A few days later, we decided to go fishing, which is how we ended up on the boat. We left at an unimaginably early hour, but as we were clearing the harbor, admiring a church lit up on the hillside, the sun started to rise, and with it brighter colors than any church could produce.

We didn't catch any fish, but it hardly mattered. We saw a whale leap up entirely out of the water, its fluke rising in a somersault against the far morning sky. I'd only known Carrie for 6 months, but already we were thick as thieves, and that morning sealed it: the way we saw the sunrise reverently, the way we stood swaying on the bench of the boat like seafaring adventurers, the way we giggled about Ty and her new husband Dave, secretly, so they wouldn't hear.

Carrie is someone who is very guarded; it's hard to get into her heart. And yet, of all the people who worked at the newspaper where we worked, she let me in. She says she had no choice, but I know she did, and I know it was that morning that changed things, that bonded us. We saw sameness in one another, that morning with the sunset. We saw the colors of the sunrise and the salt in the air filling the hole we both had, the tear in the 20s, where you are between childhood and adulthood and you are lost and alone and not sure where to turn.

Carrie had tried to fill that void by getting married. She chose well; they are married still. But friendship is different from marriage, and she still needed someone who could be a friend to her, rather than a husband.

And me -- I didn't have anyone. I'd moved out when I was 17 to go to college, and I never really went back, not to live. I'd bounced around the Pacific Northwest, going through jobs and men, not sticking. I didn't know how alone I was; I was so far in the pit that I couldn't tell I was in it.

But that morning, when Carrie and I saw those colors shimmering and moving across the sky like the Northern Lights, when we saw that and looked at one another in wonder that anything could be so perfect and so good, that void was filled.

We are still best friends, and we still talk about that sunrise.


Blogger debra said...

Fr Bernard Cooke wrote: "We need to have people who mean something to us. People to whom we can turn, knowing that being with them is coming home."
Sounds like you have a home.

6:20 PM  

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