One of the reasons my parents are so thrilled with WHERE I live is because BB lives in the same neighborhood. She's a friend of mine from high school days. We'd bump into each other every few years - a Christmas party here, a funeral there... but there never was really a time to visit.
Then we moved here, two blocks away and after a month and a half, STILL hadn't managed to connect except by a couple of emails and one phone call.
Tonight, Z-boy and I went for a walk. We walked up to her street and down her way, and squatting in the front yard in a pretty bed of plantings was my old friend BB, pulling weeds and watering. She looked up; I waved; she gave a generic "How you folks doin' tonight" greeting and I laughed. I don't know what her eyesight is like now, but I suddenly remembered that it wasn't all that great when we were growing up. I guess the laugh tipped her off that we weren't your ordinary neighborhood walkers, and as we got closer, her face lit up and I was enveloped in a great big ol' hug.
I introduced Z-boy and her dog was going crazy behind the fence which distracted Z no end (he is dying to get our new dog, whenever that is). There was an invitation to sit a spell and have a coke while she flea-dipped her dog and we were ushered into the backyard.
I had heard from common friends that BB's yard was a magical place. It was. An expanse of green that somehow smoothly blended into a tangle of woods at the back. Her patio was an outdoor livingroom with a swing and a couch and a few chairs - and a chalk rug drawn on the concrete. Z-boy was enthralled.
Our drinks were set before us, along with a slightly yellowed picture. Damn, I wish I'd brought my glasses, but I could see well enough to recognize long-ago beloved faces. Priest-man at age 23, with BB's brother kneeling in the sand. An unrecognizable girl, next to BB, with her arm slung around Guy, next to me and Pilgrim on the end. A day trip to the beach somewhere around age 16, possibly 15. OMG, we were so young once. If I'd have thought of it, I'd have borrowed the picture and scanned it so I could post it here. Maybe I'll ask tomorrow.
In Pilgrim's honor, we broke out the Kansas records for background as we talked.
I'm sporadically in touch with Pilgrim, BB's in touch with others. We caught each other up with what we knew. She gave me and Z-boy a tour of the house, which suits her perfectly, right down to the tiny diningroom decorated with "ugly art". Velvet paintings!!! I haven't seen those in years.
Time got away from us. I finally noticed that it was dark - which happens around 9pm in these parts. Half an hour past Z-boy's bedtime but hey, this was a special occasion.
We said goodnight and strolled home in the dark. Z-boy smiled up at me and said, "I really like her, Mom! Can we visit again sometime?"
You bet, baby, you bet.