We have been best friends since the second grade. It seems a long time ago that she asked to borrow a pencil from me but yet it seems like yesterday. Funny how the most extraordinary friendships spring forth from ordinary roots. The way a lovely rose bush blossoms from a half dead stick in one of those bags that they sell at Wal-Mart.
Monica and I were adults now, women with children and husbands, careers, responsibilities, skeletons, baggage. All the ingredients that go into the human soup of adulthood. Maybe this is why I feel a twinge of guilt when I think back to last weekend when we had one of our numerous sleepovers. Perhaps it was just a one-time occurrence, perhaps not. What I can tell you is that I kissed a girl, and I liked it.
“Hey Mock…what time do you want to meet at my house? Dan and the kids are skiing this weekend so we have the WHOLE place to ourselves.” The phone was cradled between my shoulder and face; my hands were busy typing up yet another report for the miser I called Boss. She replied “If all goes well I can be there at 6:00, one of the boys is running a fever but my mother said she’d watch him if I bring her a large Dunkachino” I laughed, “Your mother never changes does she?” “Nope” “She’s still a pain in my rear”. “Hmmmmm…I can’t wait Sarah, I’ll bring the Captain’s and OJ if you make me that kick-ass vegetarian chili of yours”. That sounded like a fair deal to me and I told Mock I would make the chili and we could sit on the sofa, have a drink and smoke and take a time out from life.
The snow had been coming down in sheets of white since lunchtime. The frozen ground was blanketed with several inches of the fluffy stuff that crunched under my boots and stuck to my hat. I brushed off my beater car, prayed that the 12 yr old rust bucket would start (which it ALWAYS did) and took off for the day. Ahhhhh…. Friday.
On the way home I stopped at the market I like and selected the best looking green peppers, chilis, beans and tomato. Then I made a b-line for the bakery where I scoffed up that last loaf of chibatta bread that was looking rather forgotten on the shelf. Veggie Chili was our favorite and years of trial and error helped me to perfect the recipe to the point where I could make chili in my sleep. Not Monica though, Mock couldn’t cook to save her life. One time she attempted to make a spoon roast for her then husband. Poor thing must have called me 15 times asking about ingredients. All her effort was in vain because she burned the damn thing to a crisp. A spoon roast? One of the easiest things in the world to make and she burned it, go figure. It makes me laugh to think of that shriveled, black lump in the roasting pan. “DAY-UM woman, what the hell did you put the oven on?” I inquired. She replied in wide-eyed innocence “Ummmm…. I put it on Broil for 45 mins. “ I just laughed and shook my head, “Thank gosh you went to modeling school and not culinary school, you’d be poisoning half the East Coast”
Another time she attempted to make a pie, apple I believe. Though I strongly encouraged her to just purchase a pie from the market, she was determined and set about on her mission.
Much to my amazement the pie looked pretty good, almost like those ceramic ones you see at craft fairs and on tables at display houses in new developments. Then we tried to cut into it…the top crust was so hard we had to saw through it with a steak knife, the bottom crust was soggy, gooey and had the consistency of wet Play-Dough. And the apples…well let’s just say the apples left much to be desired. She tried though and that’s what counts I guess. Some women aren’t meant for cooking, Mock was one of them.
We had just finished the chili, which Mock proclaimed a masterpiece. It was mediocre by my standards but if it made her happy, it made me happy. “Wow, Sarah, come look at this.” I gathered up my drink and joined her at the window that would normally give a view of my backyard littered with the kids swing set and my husband’s old jalopy of a pick-up that he claims he’s going to restore one day. “It’s a white-out, I can’t even see Mrs. Dunn’s garage or the bird bath,” I said calmly. Snow never bothered me, I grew up in NE Ohio where lake effect blasted us regularly, but Mock was a California girl nowadays and looked nervously at the drifts. “C’mon I’ll roll one up, we have nowhere to go but couchville, don’t worry about it”. She pushed the thoughts away and smiled at me and said. “You always make me feel safe”.
Amazing how some people never change, Monica was like that. Throughout our friendship I always swallowed down a bit of green envy when around her. She was breathtaking, really. Natural blonde hair, piercing blue eyes and a cute little turned up nose, flawless, lily-white skin. It used to piss me off, and sometimes I hated her in that way girls hate each other but don’t really hate each other, if that makes any sense. I was so plain and dumpy with a mop of dishwater blonde hair that never seemed to comply with my desires and a non-descript face that wouldn’t be launching any ships. Not Mock, even after squeezing out two kids and a divorce she was hot. Granted she was an actress, but even by those fickle movie-star standards she was HOT. Men just flocked to her and sometimes I felt like the ugly stepsister who was destined to forever walk in her shadow. Not that Monica ever did anything to make me feel unattractive, it was my hang-up.
After I gave birth to my second child the weight around my middle just wouldn’t go away. My husband called it “the baby roll” which just humiliated me and brought me to tears. I cried to Mock on the phone knowing she could never understand but at least I’d get some sympathy. Ya know what she said to me? That beautiful girl told me “Awwww, the most gorgeous women in Hollywood bear the scars of childbirth, they just have plastic surgeons. I’ve seen Pamela Anderson’s stretch marks and Jennifer Lopez’s fat ass and let me tell you Sarah, your little belly roll is nothing, you will always be spectacular to me.”
I knew the words she spoke were true; she swam with sharks on the boulevard.
We snuggled under the down blanket on the sofa, we’d always been very close and never hesitated to hold hands or lay our heads on each other’s lap. The Rum and OJ was beginning to lull me into a content stupor…the pot helped too I suppose. She told me about her adventures on the big screen and how she longed for home, she missed her boys, and she missed her old fat cat Mr. Kitty. I listened but in my drunken state but wasn’t really paying attention until she leaned over and kissed me.
At first it seemed so natural that I didn’t realize what was happening. Her hand was on my thigh and I could feel her lips on mine but the synaptic impulses in my cerebral cortex never registered that I was kissing a girl.
It felt like a slice of heaven and I melted into the warm, soft taste of her mouth. Our tongues touched lightly and danced sensually to the music of our passion. She was so soft and smelled so wonderful to me. My lips sought her neck as her hands explored my breasts through my shirt. The physical contact progressed way beyond the realms of friendship and into that zone where emotion and senses collide. We shared an intimate experience that only two women can share. Something precious, innocent and lovely.
No man had ever touched me with such feeling, such depth. It made me sad for them. Ha men! Such buffoons, clumsily fumbling around in foreign territory. Roughly groping and pawing, only concerned with the final destination, never considering the ride.
When it was over, we held onto each other. I was dizzy and overwhelmed by it all and my mind was flooded with a million questions. Did this make me a lesbian? Was it just experimentation? Maybe I was a latent bi-sexual and had forced that window of myself shut. Oh God, what if my husband finds out? Will he be mad?
"Now that was a stupid question" I chided myself for being so silly. Of course he’ll be mad but not because of what happened, because he wasn’t here with a video recorder to capture the entire thing to play back for his buddies at some inane male bonding ritual. With that tape he’d be a hero among his friends. It made me laugh to think of my husband, chest puffed up with pride as he slyly pulled the tape from beneath his coat, excited as a 5 yr old on Christmas morning. How funny men are.
Mock rolled over, let out a sigh and ran away to her dreamland as I lay awake with my thoughts. At some point during the deluge in my conscious I concluded that I was not in fact gay or bi and no one would ever know except for Mock and I. Sleep overtook me and I slipped away to sort out the mental garbage of the day.
The snow had subsided to an annoyance by morning and we spent the rest of the weekend as we had many weekends before, gossiping, laughing, drinking too much and shopping. We comiserated about how rotten our children were and who has implants and who is in therapy. We embraced when it was time for her to leave and I cried like a baby as she drove away. No one has ever loved me so much.
We see each other as often as life allows, sometimes not for months but the time lapse has no effect on the bond of our friendship. Nothing’s changed between us; she is still my best friend since second grade.