Tuesday, September 30, 2008
My Friend Rachel
This past weekend was my annual visit with my friend, Rachel. Rachel and I graduated from high school together. We didn't have any classes in common but for some reason, during my senor year, Rachel kind of latched on to me and my friends. She started talking to us in the halls at school and even calling us at home.
At the end of the summer after graduation, I had a barbecue and invited Rachel to attend. She came and stayed as far away from the other guests as she could get, but later claimed she'd had a great time. She was a little shy and embarrassed. I've learned that Rachel loves to just be somewhere with people and doesn't need to actually interact with them to have a good time.
Over the next several years, Rachel would place an annual phone call to my mom to get my current phone number and then call me out of the blue to see how I was doing. Hearing her, "Hey, Stranger!" on the other line always made me laugh. This girl should work trying to find missing persons! Her friendship followed me everywhere!
When I moved to Maryland nine years ago, her phone calls started to become more consistent. I guess it's easier to keep track of someone when they keep the same phone number for more than a semester at a time. Now, Rachel calls me about 3-4 times a day. I don't actually talk to her that often, as I am sometimes out or in the shower or otherwise occupied when she calls, but I do chat with her daily. We don't talk long, just a minute or two.
A few years ago, I decided to invite Rachel to come and visit for the weekend. That first year, I was so stressed in planning something entertaining to do every minute of the four days she was here, but I soon realized that just sharing my family and life with her was all the entertainment she needed or wanted. That, and a trip to the mall for a cookie and soda.
When she's here, Rachel is a great help. She sweeps the kitchen floor for me after dinner. She entertains my kids like only a fun aunt could. She chases, tickles and reads to them. She brings them little gifts from her local Goodwill store. In short, she dives right in like she is one of the family.
This year we were planning on going to the MD Renaissance Festival with Rachel (we've taken her before and she loved it) but the weather was awful, so we didn't go. Instead, we went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore and had a great time viewing the dolphin show and looking at all the marine creatures.
What do I love most about Rachel? It's hard to say. Maybe it's the way her face lights up when I tell her that I'll take to her McDonald's for lunch. Maybe it's the way she delights in watching a movie with me in the family room, "Just us girls, right Mendy?" Maybe it's how she maintains such a happy disposition in spite of having a life that has dealt her several terrible hands. Like I said, it's hard to say.
One thing I do know: I love Rachel; her heart is pure. And while I don't think that I'm a good person because I am her friend, I do think that being her friend has made made me a better person. I appreciate all the best things in my life a little more when I share them with Rachel. And I'm grateful for her persistence in making and keeping our friendship.