I didn't have a good morning today. My work was not going well; in sheer and total desperation, I headed out to walk four miles or so. Halfway through, the sun burned through the fog, turning me into a sweaty, angry wreck by the time I made it back home.
And then the phone rang.
"Can you hear the ocean?" she said. Yes, I could hear a rhythmic rushing noise in the background, restful and so much different than the sound of the ocean here, which competes, not always successfully, with the noise of helicopters, airplanes, motorcycles and glass-pack-muffled '48 Chevies.
And I could hear the voice that makes me smile...happy, relaxed, with the unique, musical lilt of her heritage still strong despite the influences of different accents around her.
Grouchy as I was, I couldn't stop a smile from forming. I'm easy like that when she's around, whether we're talking on the phone or sitting next to each other.
"I'm studying," she said, "but I wanted to call."
Studying? At the beach? Her dedication is one of the things I admire most about her.
I study at the beach too, of course. I study rocks, sand, seagulls, pelicans, waves, people; never books, though.
What a nice mental picture it made: there she was on the sand, lithe and sleek as a seal, book in one hand, a pen for note-taking in the other. I somehow knew from the first time we met that the beach was her special place, and knew even hurricanes could not keep her away from it.
I love the beach. It's a major reason why I stay where I am despite the expense and other problems. If you look at our respective beaches, though -- I'm over here on your left; she's way over there on your right -- you'll see she generally has the better deal. No earthquakes there, and as far as I know fewer signs warning people not to act like human beings. Or not to eat the fish.
We talked about work -- mine, mostly -- and I promised to send her my latest article when it's done. I value her insights; she is a far better writer than she knows. That shows through in the most commonplace articles she takes on.
And fair is fair, after all...I have done a little editing of her work, which is as pleasurable as any red-pencil work I've ever done. In part, of course, because her writing needs so little cleaning-up.
"I have 17 pages to go," she said. "I need to get back to it."
Somehow, that didn't matter. She had already worked her magic, and I went back to my work with a smile.
She knows what to say to me when I'm not at my best, even as she knows what to say when I'm happy.
How can one not love a friend like that?
21 hours ago