I met Heidi in college. I didn't like her. She was cute, skinny, and popular. All the things I abhorred in other girls. So we became best friends and had the best two years of our lives. Then I ran off to the other side of the state and she transferred to another school and got married. Unfortunately for her education, she was exceptionally fertile. Enter baby boy. While I was still finishing up my bachelor's degree, she discovered she was STILL exceptionally fertile. I can still see the telephone, hooked into the wall as I played with the ugly orange patterns on the sofa when she glumly announced, "I'm pregnant. Again!" I clapped my hands in glee. Baby girl arrived a couple of weeks before her oldest child celebrated his first birthday.
It's a few years later. That particular baby girl is now expecting her first child and Heidi is practicing saying the word, "Grandma." Between those two episodes, I kept going to school, finally got married, had four babies just before I slid under the age of 40. Heidi had another baby girl before I started my family, raised them up, started belly dancing, graduated from college, saw the kids leave the nest, got a toy poodle named Simon, and became single again.
I haven't seen Simon since he was a wee pup. I met him one day when I passed Heidi in her convertible. I flipped around and followed her in my Righteous Minivan into the tire shop where I spotted the black furball in her purse. I called him Toto then shrunk back in terror, miming a house falling from the sky. She was not amused.
We're both middle aged and tired right now. She's the one friend who has seen me go through it all. She knows more details about my life and the workings of my thoughts and interpretations than anybody else. I went to see her tonight. We only had a short visit because she goes to bed at 9:00 p.m. Because she's nearly a grandma, you know. Simon pranced around me for 45 minutes and begged for food. Once he ascertained I'd eaten all of my food, he climbed on my lap and bedded down. Heidi looked at him fondly and remarked, "I love him." I responded that I loved my chickens. She retorted that I was becoming the neighborhood crazy chicken lady. I had no response.
She had validated me and my thoughts and talk. She said all the things a best friend is supposed to say. I patted her dog on the head and pushed him off. It was a good night, I thought as I started buttoning my sweater. Heidi looked at my sweater and started to laugh and called me the crazy chicken lady again. "Is my sweater frumpy? Don't insult my sweater, Dorothy" I interrupted her. She sucked in her lips and turned to get Simon's leash. That's when I noticed how poorly I had buttoned my sweater. It looked like I was 5 years old and dressing myself for the first time. I was two buttons off and trying desperately to fix it before Heidi turned around again. Unfortunately, I had started laughing so I couldn't hide my lack of grace and pride.
I only realized later that Heidi silenced her critique of my self dressing in retaliation for my Dorothy remark. She was going to allow me to go out in public with my sweater buttoned like that. It was her figurative house falling on her best friend.
What a witch.