The words aren’t coming as easily as they have in the past. And I wanted to do justice to this post because of all the feelings I’ve been wanting to convey in the week that has come and gone. It wasn’t like we’d never planned a get together before in our group. People have such busy lives, that things just don’t materialize.
But these five lovely women…I never really expected that we’d finally meet.
And we did.
After a bout with the stomach flu the night before, I made my flight to Fayetteville the next day. It was a short ride from Chicago, landing mid afternoon and taking a 30 minute cab ride to a cottage on a large piece of property. For others, it was a train ride and then a bus ride and then a car ride through an empty highway surrounded by nothing. Pratt Place was beautiful, but the women waiting for me at the cottage took my breath away.
Kendra B, was our leader and organizer – everything so wonderfully choreographed, from the flowers to the food to the events of the weekend. Driven like me. Rachel S, my spitfire. She is Spark personified. Ashleigh H, my gentle soul, loyal and true and funny as hell. Toni T, my heart. Enough said. And Tina L, voice of reason, dancer, steady and strong.
I was nervous. Believe it or not. I had never done this before. Sharing a room with people I’d only met at that instant. Sure, we were close, messaging each other daily on Facebook. But they were in love with Christine, the filtered pictures, the perfectly planned outfits, the steady, rational voice, the gritty, emotional writing. What if that all changed after the weekend? What if they found out that I was just as normal as everyone else? That I wear jeans and sneakers and leggings and don’t do my eyebrows on weekends? But….to know me is to know that I just close my eyes and jump.
Last weekend, I dove into:
Taco night with chips and five different kinds of salsa, with pupusas and peppers, with Moscato and Margaritas.
Scary movies – Hush and The Strangers behind a couch pillow and in the dark
Sleeping next to Spark and ten feet away from Ashleigh with some kind of rainy white noise thing at full blast.
Going to the bathroom when the doors don’t close completely
Shopping. Eating. Breaking down in tears from so much laughing.
Divulging secrets, feelings, thoughts. Life’s Lessons.
Drinks. Burgers. More Drinks, Some Reggae kind of dancing. More dancing. Ubering with professionals. Getting turned away without an appointment at a tattoo place. More tacos. More margaritas.
And love. Lots of it. The genuine kind that restores your belief in humanity.
When you put yourself out there, open yourself up to strangers, you risk disappointment and regret. Not all meetings result in a friendship. Not all introductions cause you to fall in love. Not all meetings result in a blog post, in peaceful affirmation that you are right about people. This meeting did all that for me and more. And I am thankful to the five of you for coming all that way to share this special memory.
It is truly one I will never forget.