“Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

California Dreaming...

“Elaine, can you please say something?  Anything.”

My best friend Kerry said as she sat across the table from me, her shoulders leaning forward with worry as her fingers fidgeted with the napkin in her hand.

“California.  Wow.”  It was all I could think of.

Kerry had been my best friend since early high school.  What started off as acquaintances with the same group of friends, turned into one of the closest friendships I’ve ever had.  There were few people I was ever close to.  Not that for the lack of trying, though.  I can be terribly private, but Kerry helped me get out of my box that I loved to stay in.  

After graduation I convinced Kerry to move to Pittsburgh with me.  We had nothing tying us down back home in Washington D.C, and Pittsburgh was close enough to home that we could leave for the weekend and see family whenever we wanted.   

Now, not even a year later, Kerry was moving.  To California.

“Chick, I know… I know it’s far, and I know that I moved here with you and we have a lease and all but… Nick…” as Kerry struggled to find the words to explain, I saw the tears glisten in her eyes.

“No, no, no!  Don’t cry Kerr.  I’m sorry if I don’t sound happy, I’m just… shocked that’s all,” quickly I got up and moved to the other booth and hugged my best friend.  “Honestly, I’m happy for you.  You know I love Nick—“

“I do too! I do too!” Kerry practically yelled, and I couldn’t help but laugh.  “Before, Nick was just in D.C.—only three hours away.  But this job offer Elaine, it’s what he’s been waiting for.  I don’t think I could be on the opposite side of the country than him,” she paused.  “Don’t be mad at me.”  Kerry looked up at me like a sad puppy, and I could hear my own heart break.

I wasn’t mad, at all.  I wiped away her fallen tears and moved back to my side of the table before taking a deep breath and thought about what to say next.

Kerry and Nick had been dating since college.  The guy was phenomenal, truly a lot of fun to be around and all around a nice guy.  He treated Kerry better than anyone ever could.  We all got a long so well that I could consider Nick one of my closest of friends—not just because he’s dating my best friend.  And recently, the topic of marriage had been brought up almost as casually as the weather.  I’d rather her be apart from me than apart from the love of her life.  It sucked—but whatever made her happy.

And I told Kerry that, which only brought on more tears, which only made me cry.  We probably looked like blubbering fools to everyone else at the cafe.  

After drying our eyes, we changed the subject.  We ate our favorite cookie and ice cream dish and headed out, belting Katy Perry’s ‘California Girls’ in the warm summer evening.

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