"Do you think we're friends like that?" I asked her.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"Do you think people look at us when we're together and just see how good friends we are. Get jealous of our inside jokes?"
"Yeah, of course," she said. "Only we're adults...so we're a little more under control."
Over the years, I've made the idea of friendship as much a priority to me as family. Out of that priority I have made my own family. Like a quilt, it's patched together with memories and inside jokes stitched by a precious few. Watching Noelle & Carmen march through the mall - I could feel the solidity I've felt with my own friends. Kim and I making our way through parties long after we were old enough to drink at the bar. The way other friends of ours sit in the back seat when we go somewhere and she and I sit in the front. The way the balance shifts when she's surrounded by in-laws and I walk into the room. Her back-up, her friend. It's a presence. Certain friendships allow a presence. Rachel and I have it when she's working at the bar, when we're out to dinner with a big group - or just in the car. Those precious few friends are what I am truly grateful for. Sure, I have plenty of friends whose company I enjoy, who - at one time or another - may have been a part of the quilt and were later cut out...because they didn't quite match...and those are not to be discounted...
But at 2:30 in the morning, Rachel and I look over at each other while the younger versions of us fight against sleep under fuzzy covers....Finally they submit and I get into the car, ready for a little sleep myself. I try to think hard on the way home...but I'm too tired. Instead, memories flood forward in my mind, like a virtual photo album.
I have two of the best friends in the world. For that, I am truly grateful.