Make New Friends but Keep the Old [ 2004-02-05, 12:13 a.m. ]

Me, Lee, S Ė junior year of high school, traveling in Coronado, CA

February may only have 28 days, but it can be a long, lonely month. February feels like those 10 extra minutes of sleep you know you need, and like the laundry you didnít get to. It feels like skipping the gym and not returning your messages. It's heavy and wet, and all too often, it's being impatient or cruel to the one you love the most. February can make you ache and sting with the sheer grayness of it, the sparkle of the holidays is long gone and summer feels impossible. Which is why, in this lonely, lonely month, it is so good to have friends.

Iím going out of town this weekend with my four friends Ė BritGirl, Biscuit, Em and Beck Ė for a girlsí weekend. Weíre driving up to Biscuitís parentís house in Massachusetts, and as far as I know, the biggest plans we have involve going to Target and playing board games. I donít care. Iím going because I need some time with my friends. I need to remember how great it can feel to look into a friendís eyes and say, ďOh my god, me too, I totally understand.Ē What it feels like to be understood.

Because while February can be a cold, dark place, January was worse, at least for me it was. December was lovely. It was bright and warm, but the past few weeks have been rough ones, and sometimes, no matter how compassionate and loving your partner, you just need your girlfriends. And I do.

Last year was different though; February was the month we were married, and the weeks leading up to the wedding exist only in a haze. It wasnít a cold month; it was frantic and exciting and eternal and lightning-quick. I have a hard time believing itís been nearly a year since we got married, and I was flipping through our wedding album the other night, incredulous that I was that nervous-looking bride. But with time comes perspective, and this time, as I looked at our album I wasnít focusing on my hair or my makeup or if someone blinked; I noticed the people around me in the photos. And in picture after picture, there were my two best friends from way, way backÖS and Lee. When I say way back, I mean I remember teaching Lee how to use a tampon, and I think S was at my 10th birthday party. History. Iíve known them nearly twenty years, and we have been through a lot together. We spent several years inhabiting vastly different worlds, and have only recently returned to one anotherís orbit. Lee lives in Texas with her husband and her two gorgeous babies while S is here in New York, even more of a newlywed than me. But the three of us have some serious history, and we have loved and hated each other so much for so long that Iím confident the bond is unbreakable.

In the hour before my wedding rehersal, they were my touchstones, and pretty much the only things holding me together:

On my wedding day, they were by my side until Kent wisked me away:

And when S got married in September, I was there to help her into her dress and cry as she exchanged her vows. Kent and I celebrated with her, and we toasted Lee, who couldn't be there; she was in Texas, giving birth to her daughter.

And so in this cold, gray month, I turn to my friends for light, for warmth, for love. Theyíll get me to the spring.

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