Friday, October 30, 2009

does thinking it make it so

Best friends. The ones you shared everything with. I was thinking what that was like and remembering how it was leaving home for the first time, how much friendship mattered. And who I was drawn to. I thought about S. I met her my first year in college, she wasn't my only friend by any means. But she was someone I was devoted to. She was incredibly beautiful, and totally different from anyone else I'd ever known. From the deep South, daughter of a conservative family, we roomed next door to each other and shared an interest in pot. I think I remember her asking me if I wanted to get high. I always did. I was sixteen. It was the early seventies. I'd left home to come to this women's college, and was desperate to lose my virginity. I couldn't imagine how that would happen, where I'd meet an appropriate man. We were stuck on this pristine campus, surrounded by girls who'd gone to finishing school.
And suddenly there she was. We became fast friends. Hitched into Boston. Spent our days wandering round, looking for fun in all the wrong places . . . we found a riding stable and took off down some trails wearing the horses out to nothing, we found a guy and slept with him one night because it was too late to go back to school, we talked and talked and sometimes didn't talk, we went to see Leonard Cohen and listened to Dylan, the Band, talked about everything and nothing.We were about as different as you could get, I blurted out everything I felt, she kept it all hidden. I thought her mysterious and powerful . . . It was a certain kind of love. Then I transferred and we fell out of touch. I saw her once in my twenties and never again. Had no idea what happened to her, but when I started thinking about this book, I spent every day thinking about that time. About her. I wanted to fold her and what it felt like to have that sort of friend into my novel. I wanted a character who had her sort of power and grace. A modern day version of Amelia. Then out of nowhere an email.

So does thinking make it so? Is there some odd web of interconnected thought that wraps round the world? This was before Facebook became a way of life for my generation. Her contacting me came out of nowhere. Or did it?

I wondered how Muriel stood the endless round of questions, the same ones posed about her sister, speeches given, interviews granted. In real life everyone said how kind she was, how affable. I wondered what she would have wanted to say to Amelia. And what Amelia would have said to her. I thought about sisters, and best friends, and how age shows us so much . . . but we still miss that time when we were able to imagine the future was ours. That all we had to do was reach out and try.

1 comment:

  1. There is something so intense about friendships with other women at that age, I wish I knew what it was. The future was ours, yes, but also the beloved friend always seemed so vivid, such a better way of telling the world who I thought I was than I seemed to be able to embody, myself. Am I babbling? Anyway, it's great material and I look forward to reading more of it.
    PS: Babe Didrickson was AE's best bud? Wow.