Tuesday, August 01, 2006

say it's her birthday

Today is Melonie's birthday. This is important, because Melonie and I go way back from when our teenagers were in kindergarten and, therefore, from a time when life was still relatively simple.

How I tell it now is that when we all waited in the school parking lot each weekday between 2:30 and 3:05 p.m., Melonie was the one in the minivan who could read unperturbed while her young children threw various toys back and forth in the back seats.

Who is this woman, I would think. The one who remains unflustered and unflappable in the face of chaos.
I must know her.

Ours was a friendship that was slow to develop. This was my fault. She was very receptive to my initial show of friendliness (in Sharonspeak, that means: I said Hello). Then she had to wait, since my time is not equivalent to anyone else's time.

In my mind, she was already a good friend. I just hadn't bothered to let her know that yet.

I couldn't even call her on the telephone even though she asked me to repeatedly and I assured her that I would. Those of you who know me well in real life will be nodding your heads in agreement right about here.

What cemented the friendship? She gave me a deposit slip from her checkbook and told me that if I wasn't going to call her, I could at least start making deposits to her bank account any time I liked. This made me laugh. It also made me realize that yes, she really wanted me to have her address and phone number.

Thus began the alliance.

It was Melonie who sat with me in the hospital when they admitted me for atrial flutter with a 2:1 conduction rate. I brushed the tears away from my face ("what? I've got a cold.") and we bantered back and forth while the nurses wheeled me upstairs, tucking defibrillator paddles under my chest ("Can I be the one to shock her?" Melonie asked, and the nurses tut-tutted: "You don't have to have anyone come along if you don't want to," they said almost sympathetically, with pointed glances in Melonie's direction, which just made us giggle more.)

I've missed you since I've moved, my friend. Thank God for Verizon Freedom which keeps us connected. Our own personal lifeline. To think I could have so embraced the telephone when it was once my dread enemy. I think you can take that as a personal victory.

Here, Melonie. I know I already sent you one, but here's another card, just for you.

Happy Birthday.