34 going on 5
Back in the days when Paul and I were living together, but not yet engaged or married, I could never figure out how to refer to him when I was talking to people he didn't know. "Boyfriend" seemed too limited for someone I shared a sink and a closet with and "the man I live with," while technically accurate, just plain sounded dumb. I usually just talked about "Paul" as if his identity was a given and let people ask if they were unsure. These days, I do something similar with chichimama. I feel funny saying "best friend" as a grown woman, but the regular "friend" seems a hopelessly inadequate word to describe the person who knows me best, supports me the most and touches my life in so many fundamental ways every single day.
Saying goodbye to chichimama, even temporarily, is going to be the hardest part of moving for me. We've already tried to find ways to compensate for the miles that will be between us, but I know that we both sense the huge gaping hole which will be present in our lives once we're no longer around the corner from each other. I've been trying to use her annual August trip to Maine as a trial run for not leaning on her so much in my daily life, but so far I think we're both failing pretty miserably. She left Monday, and we've already spoken 5 times. First, she needed to find out which hand C should hold his tennis racket in. Then I found myself standing outside Old Navy with no idea how many pairs of size 3T hand-me-down jeans I had from her for Evan. Then M changed his travel plans slightly and she called to revise the dates she needed me to keep an eye on her cats. Then I needed to know which contact lens mail-order company had been lenient with the date of her last eye exam when she had recently reordered lenses. Then A's fever came back and she called for a consult. It is becoming overwhelmingly clear to me that I made a fundamental error in not calculating enormous long distance charges into our London budget.
I'm confident that I'll end up getting an A illness update at some point today, but she was on my mind, so I checked in on chichimama's blog first thing this morning to see how A was feeling. I was skimming quickly before my kids woke up, figuring I already knew most of what I was about to read anyway, when the second and third paragrpahs of the blog entry stopped me cold.
New best friend???? What the hell is she talking about? Is this supposed to be a subtle dig at me? I know that she's sad and anxoius about the fact that we're going, but she's also been incredibly supportive and she's not the type to be vindictive. But here it is in black and white. She's replaced me. Already! Where did she get a new best friend so fast? Oh my God, I'm going to lose my best friend over this move! We can't go!!!
I re-read her entry, looking for clues to my replacement.
Oh. "New best friend, the on-call nurse." Well, that makes more sense.
Carry on. Feel better, A. And chichimama, I'll talk to you later, my best friend...