For The Sister I Got to Pick

photo by KMM Photography, LLC

Having a best friend is a gift. Having a lifelong best friend is a blessing straight from the heavens. Longtime readers of this blog, and there are a fair few of you at this point, will recognize Harriet here and know how much she means to me. For those of you who don’t know (or don’t necessarily care), I hope you someday feel the deep love and affection of real friendship. If you have that love, I hope you celebrate it. Allow me to go first.

Harriet is a beautiful person. She’s patient, warm, inviting. People just like her. It’s something a younger version of myself envied, but now I only admire. People sometimes tell us that we are like the sun and the moon, which feels right. It’s easy to feel comfortable with the moon, though you miss her when she’s gone. The sun, as life-giving as it is, can be oppressive. Without the moon, where would we earthlings be? You tell me who’s who.

I appreciate Harriet’s tempering. When my anxiety flies off into the big nowhere, she’s there to listen, to give space, and to pet my hair. As we prepared for the wedding, I told her I would have three breakdowns the week of the big event. She told me, “Bring it.”

For those wondering, I absolutely did have those breakdowns. As I was shouting into the phone during tantrum #2, bemoaning the wedding and threatening to run off to the courthouse because fuck those people, she was understanding but also pushed back. “Bailey, do you love Richie?” Yes. “Do you want to marry him?” Yes. “Did you work really hard on all the floral arrangements and the food and the dress and everything?” YES. “So why don’t we go ahead and do this? What matters is you and Richie. I’ll be there for everything else.”

The night before the festivities, after rehearsal and a lot of people (think small army) put together the party, Harriet and I settled down in the Big House “bridal suite.” We talked about the wedding plans, the honeymoon, the sweet feelings before it got too late. After I got into bed, she asked if I wanted the lights on or off like she has since childhood (I had a crippling fear of the dark as a kid). Then she got into bed with me and did another thing she’s done since we were kids: pet my hand. Minutes later, I was asleep.

Last night at our annual friendsaversary dinner, she told me that she was surprised I wasn’t a mess before bed (she had Indian Matchmaker all queued up and everything). The comment made me feel really seen. Despite my outbursts, my anxiety has gotten to a place where I can carry it on my back, and it doesn’t weigh as much (it helped that I wanted to marry Richie). Something I’ve learned from Harriet is that there are some things that you can’t do anything about, so you might as well chill. Controlling every little detail about a wedding day is one of those things. Que sera sera.

After a long day of emotions, dancing, and shrimp, I felt how loved I was by this remarkable human. Honestly, I couldn’t really talk to her for a week because I was so overwrought and embarrassed by how much of me she saw. We’re back on track now; it’s just funny how both of us needed the same level of recovery. Anniversary #21 meant getting a couple’s massage, trading esoteric presents, and eating too much at a tapas restaurant. As always, my gratitude for the patience and affection of such a beautiful soul is one of my life’s deepest joys.

bam

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