It was the BEST of Times; it was the worst of times…

Okay, sometimes other folks have already said it better … and I’m being a bit melodramatic.  But not too much, I think.  You can judge for yourself…

I just returned from Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic; Dominica is the island where Johnny Depp was filmed running from the aborigines in “Pirates 2”), where my BEST friend of 30+ years got married this past Monday (we go back further, but that would make me even older if I told the truth  ;-)).

If you are a fan of my (infrequent) blogs, you know Cheryl and I have been friends since childhood.  Our families know each other; we grew up together.  I really have two sisters—Janet by blood and friendship, and Cheryl not by blood but absolutely through friendship.  In 1990, I moved to Charlotte from Indiana, shortly after I visited Cheryl and became enamored of the city and the promise of being reunited with my friend.  Cheryl and I have been housemates ever since.  So, you can just imagine how watching your closest friend in the world get married might just shake a woman a little—or a lot.

If you are a ‘friend’ on Facebook, you’ve already seen some photos of the wedding.  It really was as perfect as you get.  All Cheryl’s work pulling together place settings—our runs to every fabric, consignment shop, and party store in town to get just the right ingredients thoroughly paid off.  And we went above and beyond on the 1000+ cranes to give Cheryl and Francis good luck (James and Tex hung them; Cheryl, Jeanine, Laurie, Ali, Syd, Andi, and so many others I can’t name, folded them; and Cheryl, Beth, James, and I strung and packaged them on New Year’s Eve.  And Jessica and Ashley and Sheila, in Dominica, really pulled together everything to make Cheryl’s day the greatest ever).

Beautiful decorations and venue aside, it really IS about all the people who moved me—the native Dominicans who love Cheryl and Francis combined with the 18 or so of us Americans who love Cheryl and Francis and ventured there (some for the first time/some of us already knowing why Cheryl wanted to get married there)… that’s what made the wedding extra special and memorable.  And, of course, the sunset like no other added to the total ambiance.

A long-winded way to say… I’m deflated.  Yes, Cheryl is married, and I’m so very happy for her and Francis.  Yes, James and I are engaged, and I’m so very happy for us and ready to spend the rest of my life with him.

And, I’m sad … not because I’m saying goodbye to a friend (that will NEVER happen between Cheryl and I, mark my words), but because a time and place has passed—a lifetime has passed between us, if you consider most married couples nowadays don’t last nearly as long as we have.

When we were younger, Cheryl and I tried to explain our relationship, then we just gave up and let people think what they wanted. We were never a couple; but everyone found it easier to explain us that way.  We’ve gone many years with folks not knowing our “sexual status” … but that was just because most people can’t conceive of friends so close, of women so focused on careers and adventure, of women enjoying each other’s company so much.  I envy (in a nice way) my friends, Laurie and Jeanine, because they ARE blood sisters and best friends, so they just get to say “we’re sisters” and have the last name to prove it.

After the wedding, after the reception, after the cruise in the bay (including stars you’ll never see if you don’t venture beyond this continent), I found myself back at the hotel (once everyone had gone to bed), sitting on a patio with a view beyond the horizon, and I cried.  I cried for the beautiful view I don’t know when next I’ll see. I cried for all the love I felt from the people present at the wedding, Dominicans and Americans alike.  I cried in joy for my friend’s best night of her life, the smile on her face and the love in her eyes for Francis, and the complete love in his eyes for her.

And I cried for that passing of time.  That moment I looked at my best friend of all these years and knew we were saying goodbye to what we were in order to embrace who we are.  I know, in my heart, it is where we are meant to be, but it still hurts just as much to say goodbye to all we’ve had, all we’ve been.

Just want you to know, Cheryl, I’ll still be the old, crotchety lady sitting next to you in the nursing home one day or—even better—on some beach in Spain reminiscing about all the adventures we’ve had… together and apart.  And I’ll still try to ‘one up’ you but know I can’t.  Your spirit is too strong, your thrill for life too deep.  No friendship can ever compare to ours.


~ by Anne Kaylor on February 4, 2013.

5 Responses to “It was the BEST of Times; it was the worst of times…”

  1. As I was there, and experienced the wedding, and have seen the friendship over the last five years, all I can say is that every word is true. Like the street sign in Charlotte at the corner of “Anne St.” and “Cheryl St.”, your friendship is an enduring fixture that sees daylight and night, dawn and dusk, sunshine and storms. May you both forever experience the gratitude of this gift that life has blessed you with!

  2. Sobbing just a bit myself now, dear. What a beautifully written tribute.

  3. Thank you both! My best blogs always do come from the heart (and create a tear or two for me ;-))

  4. Anne, what a gift you have given Cheryl with this blog post. And what a gift you’ve given each other with your unbreakable friendship. Thanks for sharing a glimpse of the wedding as well. I’m all verklempt. xo

    • Thanks, Leslie. It’s amazing to me, yet not surprising, that all the folks from the trip and beyond that I shared this with have not yet responded – but I knew you’d feel what I had to say. 🙂

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