“How are you doing, Annie?”
A simple question – it could be passed off as small talk if it hadn’t been so intentional, so perceptive. And immediately, a few of the tears that had been hanging in the corners of my eyes for weeks just… let go.
She knew – she had sensed it. And the fact that she was able to read between the lines, and dig a little deeper, and ask the real questions, caused me to drop my suit of armor. She didn’t settle for the stories (Twin old ladies! Tour buses! Type from home scams!), the humorous and perky front that I so often put up, because she knew that she had permission to ask for the truth.
As some silent tears spilled, so did reality: deep wounds, and true fears, and the loss of hope, and the abandonment of some important dreams. The quiet death – the death that happens behind a smile. She was sensitive and responsive, intuitive and caring. I talked for a long time, and she listened. At the end, I apologized: “I’m sorry, I just spilled a TON.”
“That’s okay,” she said. “I wanted the long answer.”
To have a friend who wants the long answer is sometimes the most meaningful, humbling thing in the world. Thank you, Greta, for being the very best friend I could ever hope for.
- – - – - – - -
By the way, L is also for LABOR: between stripping/painting/refinishing my bedroom furniture, multiple runs to the hardware store, spray-painting some bulletin boards, rearranging my bedroom, baking cookies, hanging out at a bonfire, hiking 7 miles, grocery shopping, discovering Leiper’s Fork, showering and doing my hair (trust me: NOT an every day occurrence), going to church, attending a wine & cheese party, and catching up with Julie, I would say that I accomplished much this weekend. I even ran a 5K with this Annie – but that is the short answer.
Here is the long answer.