If in life you’re only allowed one best friend, time and time again I’d pick the one I already have – Cicely. At the writing of this post, we have been friends for 10 years. Of those 10 years, we have only lived in the same time zone for 2 years. The rest of the time, we’ve been physically separated by thousands of miles. That does not deter us.. at all. Thanks to cell phones, the internet, and plane tickets we are as close as ever.
If you had told me at the MacArthur Mall Chili’s that this woman would become my best friend, I’d have laughed in your face. After all, this Trollope was on a campaign to get me fired for reasons that aren’t 100% clear to me to this day. Thankfully, I diffused her plan and somehow changed her mind about me. Then, we became fast friends and eventually roommates.
I’m convinced that our time as roommates solidified our friendship for life. We rented a condo that would make even the evilest of slumlords blush. All I have to say is broken water heater, flooded condo, and carpeting that was never replaced. I leave the rest to your imagination. In addition to the craptastic condo, we were working college students. Both of us worked multiple jobs to make ends meet and go to school full-time. If one of us was short on cash, the other would cover for her. We were a team. It was tough, but our lives were not glum. We had a menagerie of..um.. boy toys to keep us occupied whose names were inconsequential so they received nicknames like “Cabana Boy” and “Façonnable”. If we got bored with them, we window shopped, watched Sex and the City on VHS (?!) and ate cupcakes. (We were ahead of the curve on the cupcake trend.) That time was awful and wonderful all at the same .
We graduated from college and went our separate ways physically. She to North Carolina and I to California. This did not break our bond. When we both married idiots who both ironically had the last name of Rodriguez (no relation), we were the best Maids of Honor around. For her wedding, all I’m going to say is “Vegas Wedding”. I think the fiasco can be inferred. It was so bad that we have sworn to never return to Las Vegas. For my wedding, she was the ultimate Maid of Honor. I dragged this poor woman in the blazing SoCal Summer heat to ferry people from the airport, pick up wedding favors, arrange flowers, wrangle my family, and various other wedding madness. When my wedding day turned out to be the most disastrous day, she calmed me down and wished me the best.
These little anecdotes really don’t express my deep affection and love for this woman. In all seriousness, she saved my life not once, but twice. In the midst of our college experience, I suffered a major depressive episode (read: nervous breakdown). I was overwhelmed by familial pressures, school, and work. (This is being simplistic) When the days of not getting out of bed turned into weeks and my thoughts became suicidal, it was Cicely who urged me to seek professional help. She even had the name and numbers of professionals ready for me. The whole time she was compassionate and made no judgments about my condition. If not for her intervention, I doubt highly that I would still be here today.
When the marriage that she had wished to be the best turned out to be the worst, she was there. Initially, she was a shoulder to cry on and sounding board for my venting. When my sadness turned to hopelessness and despair, Cicely was among the first to tell me that there is no shame in ending a failing marriage. When I was finally fed up and bold enough to leave, she was there to drive me home. The whole trip she alternated between consoling me and making me laugh. Again without her support, I wouldn’t have had the strength to leave a marriage that nearly killed me.
Today in honor of her birthday, I’d like to toast my very best friend, Cicely Walker. She is a tour-de-force. I am happily Gayle to her Oprah. She keeps me grounded and laughs at my foibles (there are a lot). She is the sexiest and smartest woman I know – a deadly combination. Most importantly, she taught me how to be tough in the face of adversity and to do so with style, grace, and panache. When my hand is on the panic button, she is always there to gently ease and/or pry it off.
Happy Birthday, Cicely. I know you hate the idea of birthdays, but without it you wouldn’t be here and I’d be bored and lonely. I love you more than words can say!
P.S. I promise that I won’t let you marry another asshole 😉
XoXo, Anne K.