Jay and I met in college. We lived in the same dorm but on different floors. We had one class together: Soc. 101 and we both had crazy people as roommates. We would often go places around campus such as the library or book store... or a bar to get away from them. I had a car so sometimes we would venture off campus to go to a movie or the mall... or a bar. She actually kept me in line for the first semester of our freshmen year. She put me on this strict schedule that included attending all my classes and studying-- how crazy was that?!! Jay only stayed at our college one semester then moved back home, but we have remained friends.
We sort of have to stay friends at this point... she has very incriminating photos of me... in one I am on a beach in a very unattractive pose and swim suit (even she knows I will kill her if that becomes public!!) and in another I am wearing ORANGE sweatpants sporting one of the finest mullets ever seen. But, then I know her weight, bra size, age (she is WAY older than me) and a lot about other incriminating skeletons in her closet...
My father didn't really like Jay much when he first met her. She came to my family's house the summer after we met for a visit. She hated driving long distances back then and brought her boyfriend too. I gave them my room to sleep in and shared with my sister. Dad wasn't sure he liked the idea of Jay and her boyfriend (with whom she lived, was engaged to and would marry shortly) "shacking up" at his house and wasn't quiet about it to my mother and I. Jay redeemed herself to my Dad that Christmas... she sent him (actually me... but I didn't mind sharing!) a huge box of many different kinds of homemade cookies. Suddenly he forgot all about the summer visit and started calling her, "That friend of Ilene's that I like."
We were there for each other for the 'big stuff' too. I was maid of honor at her wedding. (I wore a pastel bridesmaid dress and heels just for her!!) I was there when she was frustrated because she kept trying to get pregnant and miscarried several times. I was there when she got the positive pregnancy test result and watched her excitement grow just as the son inside her did. I was there when she needed a shoulder to cry on because her marriage was ending, and when she was lonely and struggling as a single parent.
She was the first person I came out to. I didn't know how to tell her I was in love with Pepper and worried that it would ruin the friendship between us. I asked her to sit down and told her I needed to tell her something that I was afraid to say. She sat down and seemed to hold her breath. After I told her, she laughed. I said, "What's so funny?" She told me that since she knew my high school boyfriend had been diagnosed HIV+ she had been terrified I was too. She was thrilled I was only telling her I was a lesbian! When my father passed away, it was a very cold, very stormy January. The drive from Jay's to my family's house was still long. She talked with another friend who said, "The weather is horrid, do you think we should try to get there for the funeral?" Jay simply said, "I am." She was there and stayed by my side the whole time. She was there for my Mom's funeral too.
Nowadays, things aren't usually so stressful. She is remarried and has added a daughter and a step-son to her family. We strive to get together one weekend a month and go camping together several times every summer. Our family's are close and we are there for each other to handle life's joys and sorrow's. Am I lucky or what? She should be here soon... better go start getting dinner ready.
Thanks for reading.