My Friend C

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." – Anais Nin

Her skin.

It reminds me of caramel. Light caramel. It is clear and has the slightest hint of brown.   

Upon looking at her for the first time you may think she is Caucasian. But then you look closer and you see the kink to her hair, or the extensions she is wearing and you realize that she is black. But you question yourself.

Perhaps she is Dominican? Puerto Rican?  What is she?

I can tell you.

She is one of my oldest friends.  We met in the maternity home in 1986 and we have stayed friends since then.  Months, even years, can go by before we see each other but when we do it is like we were never apart. Conversation comes easily and hugs are openly and easily exchanged. 

We laugh like teenage girls. We rehash stories of our times at the home in Chicago. She tells the story of my silver shoes, my flowered pants, my chronic hair coloring and beer cans lining doorways.  She will remind everyone in the room of the time when I told a mutual friend (that had overstayed her welcome at our apartment) that it was time for her to leave.

My friend C. 

She is coming to visit me this weekend. I am hosting a Lia Sophia jewelry party and she is driving over three hours to see me.

I don’t have the words to express how happy this makes me. The smile on my face shows it all. Perhaps words are not needed.

I know, without question, that one of the deep bonds of our friendship is rooted in the fact that we shared the same trauma at nearly the same time in the same location. Her son was born and lost to adoption one month after my daughter was.  We later became roommates and struggled through paying the rent, finding jobs, and finding food. We went through boyfriends, Clubland, Romas, Leonas and navigated the Chicago El together. We dined at my favorite Mexican place in Lincoln Park. We had our hair cut by Joseph, the cute gay guy, in a salon in Boystown. We joked about our gay neighbors making out on the elevator as we carried our groceries to our apartment. We smashed cockroaches together. We made mac and cheese with jalapeno pepper cheese. We bought furniture from Clyde, the drug dealer on Sheridan Road.

Amazing how deeply connected you can become to a person who shares the same soul wounds. 

My dear friend C.

She just knows.

She has seen me at my worst and seen me climb out from under it. She has been my friend through it all and I know, without question, she would do anything for me, as I would for her.

Don’t we all need friends like that?

Did I mention she is not only a first mom but an adoptee? Yup. Presumably given up due to being a biracial child born in the early 60s.  She hasn’t found her roots yet. She is thinking about it again. She has a name but she is a bit anxious to do much with it. What if mom is deceased? What if the biracial status is indeed the reason for her adoption? How will she, as a “halvsie”, be received by a possible white mother? Does she dare open that pandoras box?

She is also contemplating finding her son. I am sure we will discuss both searches this weekend. Of course I will help her.

She is amazing. Her mother and her son deserve to know what a big heart she has. 

I know. I have held it in my heart for over 20 years and I will hug it extra hard this weekend. I will hug her for me, for the son she is missing and for the mother she lost.

My friend C.