I spoke to my friend Maude yesterday. We hadn't caught up in months. She married a man who took her off to England and I don't think they'll ever move back. I know she loves him so I try not to resent him for it.
I have known Maude, who is 6 weeks older than me, since I was born. Our parents were friends in the Peace Corps, and then, purely coincidentally, they were living in India when we were born. We were in Delhi; Maude's family was in Chandigarh. I couldn't pronounce it as a kid, so I had two dolls I named Candyjar.
We have the kind of brutal frankness with each other you can only have with family. We have had the fights that could end a friendship, but we've worked through them, because we will be in each other's lives forever. We have supported each other through massive life ups and downs, Even if somehow we didn't talk for three years, we'd still pick up where we left off.
Maude says my dad decided we were going to be friends, which I think is probably true. We only saw her family every few years, but Maude was often inserted in the bedtime stories that my dad made up for my brother and me. I didn't realize till I was writing this that it was a little twisted - all our bedtime stories were about these two evil witches, who were always chasing us. And if they caught us, well, they were going to cook us and eat us for dinner!
Sometimes Maudie would be there for me, and sometimes, oh, sometimes "Lisa was all by herself, in the middle of the field..."
"No, Daddy! Maudie was there! Lisa wasn't all by herself! Maudie was there in the middle of the field!"
Because of course my little brother would be of no use. Always better to have your friend Maude get eaten by the witches as well. We'd always get away at the very last minute. How's that for a way to put your kids to sleep?
So Maude was this constant figure in my life, even if we didn't see her family very often. The summer after 10th grade, when we hadn't seen each other for years and years, her family was living in NY, and we were living in India again, but back in the US for the summer.
We went to the beach for two weeks, and my dad said, "Lis, Maude really wants to come to the beach with us. She doesn't know anybody in NY." I couldn't imagine why, but it was fine.
She asked me years later why I'd wanted her to come to the beach so badly. Turns out her family said, "Lisa really wants you to go to the beach with them. She doesn't know anybody. You should go." And they packed her off with us. And fortunately, we really liked each other. But we were both terrible about keeping in touch.
And then we reconnected again while we were in college, and after college we shared our first apartment together. Maude and I lived in Mt. Pleasant. I've written about her before, and about our messy, messy apartment.
So Maude, now Maude is pregnant. And yesterday she said the following to me.
"So, I've learned that when you're pregnant, your sweat smells a lot less!"
"Yes! With all the house guests and commotion lately, I just realized that I haven't bathed in a week! And it's not too bad!"
"Does your husband know this?"
"I think he's starting to suspect."