Something About “Mary”

Tomorrow is my best friend’s birthday. Out of respect for her privacy, we will refer to her as Mary. Mary Charleson, that’s it. Anyway, Mary and I have been friends for almost 40 years. We met in high school, in Performing Arts. She was sitting on the lap of a boy I thought was cute. She’s a little bit older than me, and seemed very worldly and sophisticated. She was the first friend of mine to drive a car. I recently told my Dad that Mary was the first person I knew who had had sex. He said that was unlikely. So, I corrected it to say, she was the first person I knew who had had sex that actually talked to me about it!
So, you can see why I was drawn to this alluring siren from the start. Add to that, she had a beautiful singing voice. We ended up auditioning for the school play together, Damn Yankees, and both got cast. The start of a beautiful friendship. And over 40 years, we were housemates for 8 fun years, lived next door to each other for several more (the best!), traveled together many times, mourned parents together, shared thousands of meals together, and conservatively speaking, shared millions of laughs together.
Mary is a fascinating person. For one thing, she used to cook for nuns, while in Catholic school. I honestly could never tire of asking her about this. And she knows the weirdest things. Last night we were driving to dinner, and I said I was concerned about my night vision. She then explained that when day turns to night, there’s a dusky period where our vision switches from cones to rods. Or vice versa, something like that, but who knows stuff like that?
She can also name every bird. I don’t even especially like birds, but take a road trip with Mary and you hear things like this along the way: Look at the Egret! What the heck? She seems to have a special fondness for turkey vultures. She also rescues little lost dogs, and has a talent for identifying minor characters in movies (didn’t the 3rd servant also play one of the kids in Harry Potter? I think a Gryffindor?). Oh, and she can make really awesome space ship sounds!
We’ve definitely had some crazy adventures together, almost always including being lost at some point along the way. We have circled more addresses than I care to count, bickering about the location and giggling like fools. We have a bit of a Lucy/Ethel vibe to us, but the cool thing is, we switch roles regularly, depending on place and purpose.
In 40 years, we have had one serious argument, and that was about 38 years ago. We frequently have vigorous and lively debates and enjoy them a great deal. Mary and I are not in competition to be right, so we learn from each other, laugh with each other, and are each made better and stronger through our bond.
I could go on and on. I really love this woman! But I’ll end with this. When I got laid off, the first thing she said to me was, “what happens to you happens to me.” It truly was the nicest, most generous and comforting thing anyone has ever said to me. And it goes in both directions, what happens to my sweet Mary happens to me. She truly is, my best friend, forever.
The end, for now


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