Today is the birthday of one of my dear friends. I have known her for 26 years, well over half my lifetime. I’ve mentioned her before (She is the one who so graciously provides me with gardening space!), but now I have permission to give her a name and a face.
Hillary and I met during my first week of high school – she was a year ahead – in speech class. I gave her an introduction to walking in high heels (in a stairwell at SDSU during a competition), we were debate partners (we actually trophied with a 2 win 2 loss record at our first competition!), and she was my ride to many a football game (including an eventful one at Mount Miguel!).
Even when distance has forced separations over the years, our mutual love for letter writing has kept us us in touch.
Hillary was on sabbatical in Spain when I was living in England, so we toured Madrid/Seville and Paris together. Once she realized I needed to be fed and watered on a regular basis, we were excellent travel partners. Americans were very unpopular at the time, so whenever we were in public she spoke to me in Spanish and I would respond in French, and somehow we made it work! It was during one of these trips that a chance comment of hers made it all right for me to return home – I no longer perceived it as a failure.
When on the day of my 20th high school reunion day I realized I didn’t fit in any of my suitable dresses, she was the one I called. Her roommate answered and was greatly amused by my wardrobe emergency. Although she wasn’t home, we both agreed she wouldn’t mind my borrowing something. That is the person she is. She is definitely one of my 2 am friends: I could call her at that hour if I needed something – even bail!
While in high school, my step dad very astutely noted that Hillary’s beauty would not be appreciated until she got older. I can definitely attest that it is appreciated now! It was hard not to get jealous as all heads turned on Paris metro cars whenever Hillary entered. I was invisible. What made everything okay is that she never even noticed! It’s hard to be upset about the situation when it didn’t even dawn on her what was happening.
Even Kurt can attest to her attention stealing abilities as she is the one who a guy gave his number to while we were dining at a gay bar!
From Hillary, I learned to feel comfortable in being myself. As DH2U pointed out the other day, it is hard to be as emotive as she is. When Hillary is excited, everyone knows. Table slapping, loud “Pshaw!”‘s, and foot stamps whenever deemed necessary are publicly expressed, with absolutely no care given to who might turn to look. When she wanted to get a picture of everyone attending her backyard party, what does she do? She climbs her fence (while wearing a dress) to get a better shot!
Because of this fearlessness, I didn’t feel the slightest bit self-conscious as she taught me Flamenco arm movements as we sat outside at a restaurant in the middle of a busy mall. Her confidence and willingness to be herself is contagious!
I can honestly say that my life is more enjoyable for having her be a part of it. It definitely has been an adventure. Have a wonderful birthday, my dear friend.