That's what someone - a stranger - said once, out loud, when they saw Alicia and I walking up to Kybecca together. "Oh god, it's them". And I don't mean to imply that it was said in some sort of breathless anticipation. No, rather, this person was duly horrified and irritated that us two annoying sons of bitches would be junking up her otherwise lovely evening by existing. And look, man, I get it. I have those people too. And by sheer probability of numbers, I know I'd eventually be that person to someone but, but....to hear the disdain uttered out loud? Is this what Kim Kardashian feels like?
On the one hand it hurts my feelings that someone I don't even know thinks I'm so miserable butttt on the other hand. I take a certain measure of pride in that person's horror. I'm proud that I am part of a "them" that's worthy of any sort of proclamation at all.
The "them" part of the "oh, god" started the first week of October 2012 when we closed up madeline ruth and beaucoup vintage to open FORAGE. Our relationship began friendly enough, you know - we had an easy-going vibe between us and obviously trusted each other enough to go into business together - but had no pretensions of becoming besties. We figured we'd occasionally share a pizza but not that we'd constantly share a brain. For those seven days, we sat on the dusty floors of 208 William, gluing, hammering and drilling FORAGE into existence as we emptied our guts onto those dusty floors and let the other poke around those guts -- asking questions, listening, sharing, figuring, thinking....and then realizing...hey, our guts look pretty similar, don't they?
So here we are not so many years later, sharing a brain. We're two squirrels huddled on the same tree branch, busily cracking acorns, our heads bowed toward one another, oblivious to the birds, cats, and rabbits circling our orbit as we carry on together. Two meatballs with lots of weird thoughts - but all the same weird thoughts - laughing at the same inappropriate jokes. A couple of ride or die chicks making plans and sharing secrets. A "them" built on a foundation of shared goals, mutual respect and a cosmic connection.
A few weeks ago, on a particularly cold and dark January evening, I got home with the mail on the floor in front of the door, as usual, with a hot pink envelope peeking out of the pile. I figured it was a belated Happy New Year's card from Danielle (she's the best card sender I know, rivaled only by my nana) but when I flipped it over, I realized it was from Alicia.
I opened what amounted to a 6 page long letter, detailing our shared triumphs, failures, indiscretions, joys and hilarities. It went on to muse about our upcoming, unknowable futures and all the cool stuff we'll probably see and do. I started crying about two sentences in, still in my coat with my scarf wrapped around my neck, standing the middle Tom's darkened office with him downstairs starting dinner.
When I got to the end of the note, I realized there'd been something taped to the back of the card. I peeled off the taped-up paper covering to reveal a plane itinerary. My eyes boggled, as much as any one person's eyes can boggle, as I strained to comprehend in my mind the words I was reading: I'm going to Miami in March. Wait. I'm going to Miami in March? Holy shit! I'm going to Miami in March!
Tomorrow I go to Miami with my meatball because my meatball surprised me with a trip to Miami. This is Top 3 nicest things anyone has ever done for me and I sit here with freshly painted nails and a packed bag positively radiating excited energy. We will eat tacos, drink caipirinhas, and lizard on the beach.
I share all this as my own hot pink enveloped letter to say thank you, meatball. Thank you for being so kind and thoughtful and generous and loving and fun and spontaneous and all of the good things that make you a person. Thank god, it's you.