Friday, February 8, 2013

Remnants of a Friendship...Part 4

Part 4

Yesterday, after doing some editing and rereading what I wrote, I shed a few more tears. I thought I had reached the bottom of the well, but apparently I did not. But I am okay and going through with the story to the end. Thanks for reading.

And this is where my timeline gets blurry. I can’t recall the specific order of things, just the events. We continued our friendship on the phone and online. We sent packages to each other for every occasion: birthdays, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter. The packages had thoughtful presents in them. Things we knew the other would enjoy like movies, perfumes, incense, candy, and a lot of other favorite things. We started watching movies together on the VCR. She would get them in sync and then we would sit and watch together, with a glass of wine, while we were on the phone. It was the best we could do with 2,000 miles between us. We would send a box full of presents to each other at Christmastime and then find a quiet moment, when neither of us would be disturbed, and open our presents together, each under our own trees. I would help her with many French school assignments and, as I did them with her, I would improve my own knowledge of French. We discussed philosophy, especially existentialism, because we both loved the book "L'Etranger" (The Stranger), by Albert Camus. Of course, I had gotten us each a copy of the book because we loved it and often referred to it. We discussed religion. She was interested in knowing about every religion, and I was disgusted with the Catholic priest scandal. We shared things about our pasts, our families, our hopes for the future, the news, politics and what was going on in our everyday lives.We talked on the phone more often as it became less expensive, and when it was free, we talked all the time, any time, several times a day. That’s the way it was and then cell phones made it all even easier. Once we got cell phones we would take walks "together" for exercise, either outside or on the identical treadmills we had gotten for ourselves.

In fact, we had gone out walking on the morning of September 11th, 2001. We started out early, after we had gotten the kids off to school. She called me as soon as she got home from her walk to tell me to turn on the television. Her husband was watching the Twin Towers come down. I turned on the television just in time to see the second Tower being struck. It was unreal. It took time to mentally process what was happening and tremendous anxiety set in because my whole family was out of the house. My husband and brother were at work and the girls were at two different schools. The cell phones weren’t working. I didn’t know what to do. We spoke for a few minutes as we watched what was happening. Then I wanted to get in touch with my brother, who worked in Manhattan, I wasn’t sure exactly where his office building was located. I needed to find out if I should pick my girls up from their schools. I didn't know if it was safer to leave them where they were or try to go get them. In between, Marie would call to see how I was doing. Eventually, everyone came home safe and sound, but it wasn’t easy. Traffic lights weren’t working, phones weren’t working, television stations weren’t working. That night, we didn’t know if this was the end of it or just the beginning. But the anxiety of that day eventually passed over the weeks and months ahead.

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