Love is (beautiful, messy, unclear, camouflaged, unsettling, healing) infinite.
Friendship is the worldly nature of love, often grounding and contextualizing.
In sixth grade, on the first day of school, I met Claire. Our initial interaction was, as Claire describes it, my orientation of the classroom and short bios of the twenty-four students, a run down of twelve year old habits and quirks. We soon realized our phone numbers were only one digit apart, 2206 and 2806. It took an hour to find her home for the first time, a mile drive from my house but with no real landmarks to distinguish drive ways. Neither of our parents let us have sugar yet we both had a sweet tooth, we had long brown hair and matching eye color, our liberal backgrounds challenged our friends’, and we both had rampant daydreams that enlivened us and unhinged our expectations of ourselves.
In 9th grade we got kicked out of European History class for throwing invisible energy balls across the room, at each other. The next year when we transferred to the local public high school, curfews became negotiations, we dodged reprimands from the other’s parent, felt the constraints put on us by our families and each other. Our friend circle grew. Jumping the fence and swimming in the out-of-town neighbor’s pool, we laughed and floated through the summer. House sitting, Andygator, dancing in a room full of records on the back porch with the ceiling fan cooling the humid air.
Claire’s siblings went off to school and her mother’s illness became apparent. Our late nights took us to different places. We heard the other missed curfew and paper notes gave coded explanations. We lost contact. The early morning after graduation we drove together to the Holiday Inn pool and the sun rose as we swam and talked about the directions we were headed. We remembered. In Boulder we watched movies over Thanksgiving dinner. My mother called and told me tomorrow she would find out if she had this or that, that was painfully familiar, Claire’s mother also had Multiple Sclerosis. There was no longer a safe remove from what I had seen Claire and her family go through.
We convened in New York City, I worked in a firm and Claire studied. When she left for California I was shocked, it was such an obvious choice that I didn’t expect her to make. She came back with her fiancé to stand with my family in my wedding and a year later I, pregnant with my first child, walked in her wedding. River was born, her first son Arlo was born, my Luc was born and her Avery was born. Motherhood took preference over our creative professions, and the challenges of being creative makers within a new set of expectations and demands can be isolating, even within our active and engaging cities. Distance felt great and we decided we wanted to collaborate on something that would bring us together. It feels good to prioritize friendship, again.
Claire is present in her smile.
Claire is aware of other sensitive beings and desires to nurture them.
Claire expresses herself through movement and engages in a playful and joyous way.
Claire says my thoughts are five or six months ahead of her but I think she's nine years ahead of me.
Claire's deep understanding of herself makes her spontaneity deliberate and beautiful.