My neighbor Annie came over Friday morning and brought bagels and kept me company for an hour. She's really been incredible, especially considering she's only known me for a couple of months. She's brought meals, watched my kids, offered to drive me to appointments and clean my house. She's been there for me in a way I had no right to expect, but for which I'm incredibly grateful.
There are friends who are there for you.
And then there are friends who will go there for you. Wherever "there" happens to be. Even if it requires a two-day drive.
Annie noticed toward the end of our bagel date that I looked a little tired, and urged me to take a nap. So when she left, I dutifully trudged to the bedroom to relax. Deciding to check Facebook first, because it had been almost a whole hour, I sat down at the computer, when the doorbell rang. I figured that Annie had forgotten something, or that the Jehovah's witnesses were back. I peered out the window next to the door. The face looked familiar: not Annie, but definitely not a Jehovah's witness. I opened the door.
And there stood two of my friends from Michigan.
At first it was like when you're a little kid and you see your schoolteacher in the grocery store. You don't recognize them, because the context, to your little brain, is so totally wrong. But it was undeniable: there was Sharon, and there was Chris. And they were at my house.
My initial thought was that they had just spontaneously decided to road trip, which would have been cool enough. But it turns out that this was a carefully orchestrated caper, that my husband was in on it, and that it had been planned for weeks. Other friends, who had wanted to come but had other obligations, put together gift baskets filled with Michigan delicacies: Vernors ginger ale, BetterMade potato chips, Sanders fudge sauce, Tim Horton's coffee. Specially made t-shirts, candles, homemade cookies. A few mildly obscene items, because these are not the ladies from the church auxiliary. Lots of wine. Rum and a pirate costume. A pie, with a vent hole in the shape of an eye.
After ascertaining that they had not come to visit because my death was imminent, I relaxed and enjoyed the best surprise of my life. We didn't do much of anything special: ordered takeout, went to the farmers' market, played cards, made inappropriate comments every few minutes. Nobody gave me the double hand-clasp and stage-whispered that they knew I was going to be just fine, while looking like they were trying to decide internally what to wear to my funeral. I just had the best time all weekend.
When they left Sunday morning, they left quickly, so I didn't have time to get all teary-eyed. Having them around made me realize how much I had missed them these past 18 months. The only thing to do at this point is to make sure this tumor is eradicated and my vision is restored as fully as possible.
Then, I roadtrip.