wednesday, the twenty-first of march, two thousand one

What Melissa brought Elizabeth: For my birthday, a script book of the last six episodes of the first season of Buffy and a Spike chocolate bar. For Christmas, a set of handmade notecards, with gorgeous rubber-stamp designs and handwritten friendship quotes.

What Corina brought Elizabeth: For Christmas, a beautiful handmade paper journal. I mean, this thing is beautiful. I'm hoping Colleen will put up a picture of hers, because I couldn't even begin to describe it. It was also interspersed with wonderful friendship quotes.

What Colleen brought Elizabeth: For my birthday, a wonderful photo journal, with instructions that it be used only in France. It alternates between pages of cardstock, to mount pictures, and lined sheets to write things about them. For Christmas, she already sent around a wonderful collage of our friendship.

What Kate already sent Elizabeth: For my birthday, a copy of the remastered Moonlighting pilot. For Christmas, beautiful hand-painted plates, a different color for each of us.

What Elizabeth brought Kate, Colleen, Corina, and Melissa for either their birthdays or Christmas:


Have you ever heard of anything more shameful? It's absurd, really. I do not deserve these women as friends.

Link of the Next Week:

The Oscar Pool

Join the fray that's trying to make me famous, sort of.

An announcement, before we get started:

If you are here from the Calgary Herald article, then bravo to you, because the site link is wrong, so you must be quite industrious. You're welcome to stay and have a look around, or head over and enter the Oscar pool, since that is probably why you're here. In any case, welcome!

Now back to your regularly scheduled entry.

I know how you all are just dying for one of the five of us to come back from our reunion and write an entry about how Colleen is a complete bitch and Corina just mooched off of everyone the entire weekend and Kate whined the whole time and Melissa could just not be more annoying if she tried.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is never, ever going to happen.

I have to admit, at this moment, I'm not all that inspired to write a blow-by-blow account of the weekend. There are stories to be told, but right now, they have to wait a little while.

However, I also have to admit that I am reluctant to write what I do want to write, not only because the five of us suffered some rather scathing recriminations over the entries regarding our last reunion, but because I know the words will be inadequate.

But this is my journal, after all. I am not afraid of what anyone else says about us. And words are all I have. I take comfort in the knowledge that the subjects of this entry -- who number more than the four I spent the weekend with -- will understand what I'm trying to say, despite the inadequacy of the words.

So roll your eyes and pretend to gag yourself and move on if you need to. What I need is to write some things down.

My best friend In Real Life is Elise, and she'll read this, but she'll know that I'm not just saying that because I know she'll be reading this. We have known each other since we were five years old and have been best friends since we were thirteen. We have not lived in the same town for almost eight years, and this does not matter. After sixteen years of being best friends, I feel safe in saying we always will be, no matter where we are or how long we go without seeing each other. Right now, Elise lives in California.

My other best friend is Kay. Kay and I have known each other since our freshman year in college and lived together for our junior and most of our senior years. We have not lived in the same town since. Again, this has not appeared to matter. We are closer now than we ever have been. Kay lives in Illinois.

Elise and Kay are the only two RL friends I have where I truly feel I can be completely, 100% myself when I am with them. They know everything there is to know about me, and they still love me. They are my complete friends. It is no coincidence that they are the only two who know about this journal.

Stay with me, now, I am trying to get somewhere with this.

Here's the thing. Five women just spent four days in each other's company. And I am talking four straight days, all day long, from the moment we opened our eyes in the morning until the moment we finally shut up and went to sleep. We did planned things and unplanned things and last-minute-change-of-plan things. We spent a lot of time in a single car, driving many places, on occasion taking longer than we needed to because the driver (that would be me) had her head up her ass.

No one got mad. No one got frustrated. No one got even remotely irritated. No one was short with anyone, no one snapped at anyone, no one bossed the group around, no one pulled any passive-aggressive silent treatments, no one whined about what we were doing or not doing. No one complained about one single thing. No one ever wanted to. Or if they did... well, they're damn good at hiding it, but I just don't think it ever actually happened.

The friendship we have is complete. It is total. It works, all the way around. We have all bonded with each other individually as strongly as we have bonded as a group. And I was able to completely let my guard down, to be myself, for four straight days.

I stayed one day longer than the rest of the girls, to spend time with my family alone. My parents had met all of them, briefly on Thursday evening and then for brunch on Sunday. When I was trying to explain to my them how bizarrely well we all get along, my mother matter-of-factly suggested that it was because we don't see each other all the time.

At first I thought she was just being cynical, which is par for the course for my mother. But then I wondered if that were true, and if so, what that meant.

Dora and I have been discussing this a lot lately, and today, she wrote this:

There is no point in sitting around wagering if we would be friends In Real Life, if we dealt with each other every day in person, because we don't. And we won't, not unless we form some giant journalers commune and start growing our own food. So we need to judge our relationships on the basis of what they are, not what they might be if things were otherwise.

To have the opportunity to have meaningful relationships with people based on common interest and genuine affection that are not plagued by the every day pettiness we face with real-life friends -- that is a blessing, and we shouldn't second-guess the value of the online friendships because of the simple fact that they cannot be compared. They're different, they're a new concept, they're a blessing.

Dora speaks the truth, better than I could, which is why I put her words in here. She brought clarity to the jumbled mess in my head and heart.

The truth is, I could sit here and puzzle for hours about the nature of the relationships I have formed with other journalers and my own readers, and I could puzzle for hours about why my real-life friends tend to annoy me more often than not, and about why I can't be myself with them and what would happen if I moved next door to Colleen or Corina or Dora or Kate or Melissa or any of the others.

Sometimes the fact that I'm a lawyer bites me in the ass, big-time, because I'd be an idiot if I did that. By sitting here and puzzling about it, trying to break it down and reconstruct it in a different light to see if it holds up, I miss the point, so completely.

Like Dora said, I have been blessed, and blessings don't have to make sense. These people happened to read my journal, and I happened to read theirs, and now they know me better than anyone else, and they happen to like me in spite of it all. They connect with me, and I connect with them. I don't have to analyze or categorize or compare and contrast it or just generally beat it to death with innumerable "what if" scenarios. How it works or why it works is not important. It just is.

And I am so grateful, so thankful for it. More so than I could ever possibly express here. The words sound trite in my head, the ones about how I am a better person for knowing them, how I am stronger and more centered when I am with them, how I am humbled by their generosity and infinite good-heartedness. But I simply don't know how else to say it.

Inadequte words, indeed.

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