Nicole W. She was the love of my life for a very long time. We rode bikes to restaurants on streets too fancy for college kids. We stole toilet paper from the restaurant bathroom to stock up at home. She regularly convinced me that Saturdays were for grabbing to-go daiquiris and hanging out the levy – – rather than for reading for class. We painted our eyes with crayola glitter glue before we discovered fairy dust. We argued women’s rights to conservative men while tipsy at the bar. We walked the city blocks of New Orleans with the world at our feet.
Outside the nest of home, I never had the expectation of this kind of sisterly love. I certainly had it with my mother and grandmother. I had girlfriends along the way. But my friendship with Nicole W. revealed to me what the heart of a friend felt like. I didn’t know what it felt like to have a friend who would lay her life down for you. I didn’t know what it felt like to be willing to lay your own life down for a friend. This was and always will be my friendship with Nicole W.
After many years, this Fall, I have the great pleasure of attending her very first baby shower with a few other girls from this chapter of our lives. So much time has passed. She is a high-powered New Yorker with a long, impressive resume. We are a long way from vowing to open a small shop in New Orleans selling hand-made tiaras. I still like to think that we would have been quite successful at that.
Without sounding beyond my 36 years, I also like to think that these middle years are for Re-dreaming what seemed possible as a 20-year-old, empowered college student. Re-connecting. Warming my heart with thoughts of Nicole W. Re-Flecting. Looking in the mirror, into my lines and colors. Seeing the depth of a friend that is set in those lines and colors. Re-Vealing that friends are not just part of time but part of identity. Nicole W. is one of those friends for me.