the new girl

I wrote this post nearly two years ago, describing how when I was new to this town I’m now in, I insinuated myself into the lives of two of my now dearest friends. (Tonight I get to hang out with them. I’m counting down the minutes till 5:45, when I’ll head out.) 

I’m going to be 44 in June, and I’m going to be the new girl in town. Our daughter is kind of hoping we move before the school year ends. “Everybody wants to be friends with the new kid,” she asserts. 

I can only hope that I meet women like I’ve met here. T. and M., referenced in the story I link to above… I can’t say enough about them. T. brought us fresh strawberries and baked a pan of stuffed shells for us in those first days. She collected phone numbers and made sure we were all connected (the two of us, M., and another neighbor, P.). I was dumbfounded. I had never met — never thought it was actually possible to meet — anybody as extroverted and friendly and open as… as… Me. And she’s better than me. She’s generous with her time and her heart. I try to be more like her. Regularly.

A few months later we all went to a surprise party for another neighbor, J. J. turned 50. I sat next to M. M. and I had never really had a long conversation, but we seemed to click well enough at the birthday brunch. She’s just so beautiful. We got to talking about movies and I learned she adored Matthew McConaughey more than I did. (Didn’t think that was possible, either.) I told her she had a total Salma Hayek vibe about her. Because she does.

It took time, but over those first two years of our residence here, I got pretty tight with T. and M. 

T. rescued me from a frog that had jumped into bed with me. M. dispatched her son and his friend to remove a dying palmetto bug from our patio (read: prehistoric flying three-inch-long-just-the-thorax cockroach). Thanks to T. I learned to downhill ski. Thanks to M. I learned that being myself in new surroundings is generally better than being a chameleon. T. held my hand when I dislocated my knee. M. listened patiently during a particularly trying time as I contended with my mother’s illness. T. remembers our kids’s birthdays with balloons. M. gave me the best and most apt nickname I’ve ever had: CFO (which stands for Chill the F*** Out. Man, did I earn that).

There are so many ways that they’ve gotten under my skin. It’s hard to get under there, you know. And there’s no getting out. 

I turn 44 in June. I’m going to be the new girl in town. I’ll make new friends. But they’ll have to pass muster with T. and M. I think they’re planning to visit…

It’s 5:35. Ten minutes to go.

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