Today, my PO Box was filled with a care package from my dear friend Katherine. I talk about Katherine a lot on this blog. She’s an important lady! My life has been a sad and stressful mess this past week, and because Katherine is the most brilliant and kind of all the humans, she sent me a box filled with love. I opened that box right in the Post Office and I immediately started crying (gross) because I felt so much love pouring out. I’m holding the box on my lap as I type this and I’m accidentally crying again. (Gross.)
I have a lot of emotions- I’m not a robot or a sociopath- but those emotions don’t generally manifest as salty liquid on my face. Like, it’s not uncommon for me to cry three times a year. As such, crying is an Event for me, and tends to be memorable in the most humiliating of ways. For instance, I cried in front of a professor last semester. (Hi, Jill. I think you’re really great and amazing and I’m still sorry for crying in front of you. Gross.) I think I’ve cried every day since Thursday. It’s so disgusting. But today’s tears were happy and I’m counting that as progress!
Katherine sent me so many amazing things, and I want to spend some time gushing about the happiness they made me feel… but I realize the contents of a care package aren’t really interesting to anyone other than the sender and the recipient… so I’m going to spend a little bit of time gushing about the greatness, the goodness, the startlingly beautiful being, Katherine.
People flit in and out of our lives most often as a matter of circumstance and proximity. The most common friendships are forged because two people just happened to be in the same place at the same time. And these friendships end just as suddenly when somebody moves or you realize you have nothing in common. I found Katherine through a matter of happy coincidence- I don’t even fully remember the circumstances now- an introduction by a mutual acquaintance, I think.
I think the origins of our meeting are so fuzzy because we were brought together by some cosmic intervention, some universal interference crossed our paths. Katherine and I have startlingly similar histories. She understands the things I can’t put into words, because she’s lived through it, too. We share this goofy social awkwardness that sometimes conceals our layers of awesome from the world. We’ve got this Leslie Knope-like drive and dedication paired with the droll April Ludgate sense of humor that nobody really gets. We’re fiercely independent even while being obsessively attached to (and somewhat protective of) our mothers. I don’t feel crazy when I rant about boys to Katherine. (Why do the boys we like only like other boys?! Why don’t the boys who like girls like us?!) When the Fashionable Bearded Gentleman in my Women’s Studies class doesn’t return my love, Katherine assures me it isn’t because I’m wretched. Today for instance, she sent me this message: YOU ARE A DESIRABLE AND LOVELY AND WONDERFUL AND INTELLIGENT AND WITTY HUMAN BEING. Which, let’s be honest, is always a good thing to hear.
Katherine is brave. We first bonded through our writing, our shared nerd-girl obsession with blogging. Katherine is more brave than I am, and she’s constantly inspiring me. Our histories are so eerily parallel, it’s as if we’ve been living the same life in different places for years. The things that I’m still scared to talk about, the dad things, the bleeding things… Katherine explores her experiences with those things in prose and poetry. She gets it when I can’t explain it (whatever it even is) to anyone else. I’ve spent years (!! It doesn’t feel like years, but I met Katherine when I was a freshman in college. Which was years- plural!- ago.) watching Katherine bravely delve into painful places in her writing. She is the reason I’ve been able to start making those steps myself. Yesterday’s post was a tinytinytiny peek into things, but it was a BIG jump for me. And I only got there because of Katherine… which she probably doesn’t know. This is probably making her totally uncomfortable right now. (Hi, Katherine!)
We’ve recently started this inter-friend-library-loan thing. (I guess now is a good time to mention that Katherine currently lives exactly 896 miles away from me. According to Google Maps. Knowing this precise number is not creepy. I swear.) Katherine sent me The Lover’s Dictionary today, because she absolutely understands and respects my obsession with David Levithan. (I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.) And I’m sending her my copy of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close because I think she’ll appreciate my marginal rants about fathers.
Katherine is smart, and incredibly lovely. She’s kind, truly kind in the selfless way that’s so uncommonly found. She sends me brilliant letters, and knits me hats and tells me Everything Will Be Okay; We Will Be Okay. She gives me lists of things to be happy about: the power to keep growing, stars within easy reach, lots of purple. She introduces me to the best things: poetry and teas and the ability to believe. We’re Permanent Punctuation Pals! She has a semi-colon; (ha, just like that!) I have an ampersand. We got them together-apart. Because we are the authors of our own stories, and we’re not settling for the lives others have laid out for us. We’re adding on, amending, living. We’re on a happy highway, and it isn’t always easy but we’re making it through.
I feel like the universe gave me Katherine. I may not believe in religion or higher powers, but I believe in the goodness of friendship and the beauty of this inimitable human. Plus, she’s really damn cute.
All this is to say: I’m incredibly grateful for the wonderful people in my life. I am so grateful that Katherine is part of my life. She’s such a talent and inspiration to me. I hope you all have a Katherine in your lives, or can be a Katherine to someone else.