Friday morning I left Phoenix at 6:40 am. The sun had not even risen when the plane left the ground. Looking out of the window, over the sleepy metro area, the street lamps lit up in a grid that reminded me of a circuit board with pathways connecting one place to another. The sun rose quickly as we flew towards it, lighting the sky from a midnight blue to a cerulean and then the even lighter blue it becomes as the sun fills the sky with light.Chicago
Upon entry into the Chicago area, I was surprised at the amount of snow covering the ground. I should not have been, when they told us the temperatures there were about -9. It was so cold that the second you stepped off of the plane onto the ramp it was hard to breath. Once inside the warmth of the airport the cold wafted in occasionally when a gate was opened. I think the chill even seeped in through the windows and doors when they are shut.
My flight was delayed because an airplane had malfunctioned at the gate we were meant to leave from. However it only delayed our arrival in Richmond by about forty minutes. As we landed the voice from above told us we could now use out mobile phones and two way pagers. (Who has one of those?) Approximately two seconds after I turned my phone on it rang. Jess was on the line saying they were right outside the airport waiting in a white car. Another wave of anxiety washed over me, this had been happening since we took off from Chicago. Fear spreading, worry that they wouldn't like me, moments of near panic as I contemplated that I would soon be meeting four women, (the 5th would be picked up after me) four extremely smart, snarky, funny, and lovely women. I worried about if they would like me, would I fit in, how long would it take before I felt comfortable talking to them like we do online.
I trudged forward, my feet dragging with fear. I knew that the fear was silly. But it didn't stop me from feeling it. And as usually it was all anxiety for nothing.
It took about 2.5 seconds for me to feel comfortable with them. As long as it took for my feet to thaw. I slid into the back seat of the white car with four women whom I had never met, and felt immediate friendship and a sense that we all care for each other. It felt natural like I had known them all my life instead of mere minutes.
Back at Cristina's house, a lovely three story colonial in a fancy neighborhood, we ate crackers and cheese while she made cheddar lager fondue. It was good, especially with the apples (I love apples dipped in hot cheese.) But even better than the food was the camaraderie, the jokes, the laughter the fun. It was totally the way I had always imagined like would be like with girlfriends at a weekend away from the kids. We talked until about midnight when we all went to bed.
Seven in the morning and some of us were up. Alicia and I sat and talked, we attempted to work the coffee pot but decided we shouldn't even try. We waited for Cristina to work it. When we had all meandered down then back up to get dressed, we went to Starbucks for more coffee. (Or chai in my case.)
We ate brunch at the Silver Diner where I enjoyed grits, mmmm. Then headed out for shopping in the icy weather at Cary Town. The chill in the air (it was in the 30s I think) made it hard for me to want to shop or to even function. Plus we waited way too long between brunch and dinner. I felt drained when we went back to the house to wait for dinner.
Dinner was at Joe's Inn. The portions were enormous. We had called earlier for a reservation and told they don't take them. Also we were told that a table for 6 at 6 would be no problem. HA! We waited an hour, near the front door freezing out hineys off. Before dinner I had had a few sips of champagne (not something I like) it was the beginning of stupid, believe me, I have learned my lesson. I ordered a Spaghetti a la Rudd, spaghetti with feta, fresh spinach, garlic, and cheese that is baked. It had marinara on the side. I barely made a dent in the dish. I was not the only one with tons of leftovers. Most of us ordered spaghetti and maybe at a third of the plateful. I also had a gin and tonic (stupid, part 2).
We get home, filled to the brim with pasta. Sara makes daiquiris, strawberry with rum (stupid, part 3). They were enjoyed by us all. Then she made peach with vodka, as we were out of rum (stupid, part 4). Cristina was feeling ill so she went to bed at 12ish. The rest of us stayed up talking until 2 am. Big mistake.
Right after we dropped Sara off at the airport, and before Cristina's husband and girls came home, she dumped out the greek wine that no one had liked. She and I both gagged. The smell filled the room and made the queasy feeling worse. I sat at the table unable to stand very well. When Mike came in, he laughed at us. He thought our pain was funny, but was also understanding and helped us both through it. He made us eat (or at least took us to dinner where I nibbled on tortilla chips and slowly sipped a sprite.) He kept asking us what kind of drinks we wanted, beer? tequila? I am pretty sure he was really enjoying the state we were in. Eating did make it feel a little better, as did sequestering myself away at seven and laying on the bed. I was alsleep around nine.
Once again I was up around seven. But this time I slowly showered and got dressed before walking down the two flights of stairs. I was feeling a lot better, in fact I only felt hungry at that point, which was such a difference from the day before when I felt like the walking dead. Cristina and I ate powdered donuts and watched the weather channel. It was snowing outside- fat flakes drifting to the ground but not sticking. The snow didn't delay my flight out, so I was dropped off at the airport at 11:30.
I sat at my gate, feeling sad that I had to leave. I felt bad that I hadn't been able to enjoy Sunday, since I was the walking dead all day. I didn't really say goodbye to everyone. I mean I said it- but it felt like I was not really there.
At a little after seven I arrived in Phoenix. The temperature was in the 70s, and my girls were waiting in the car (we got in about 30 minutes early) for me. There was hand holding all the way home. Love and kisses and I was very glad to be there with them.
But of course, I was sad to be home, away from the friendship that felt so natural. Away from these women who have so much in common with me, from pajamas and cameras, to desires and longings, to a slight dislike of chocolate. I felt safe sharing myself with them.
And I can not wait until I can see them again.