The last several years I lived in D.C., I met my girlfriends S. and A. weekly for drinks. “Girls night” was generally on Thursdays, and often late. A. worked full-time at Georgetown University and went to law school in the evenings. S. was a lobbyist for hunger issues and represented food banks. I worked for NPR. We were all professionals and all dating.
Over bottles of wine and cheese plates, we debriefed each other on dates, gave each other advice on work, talked about world events and shared exciting trips. It was our time to vent, over-share, laugh hysterically, and, most importantly, trust. At one point, S. said, “Can we do this always and forever?”
A. and I both fell in love around the same time, and we talked each other off ledges in the early days as we worried about one thing or another. Over time, we both realized we met our life partners, so we looked to S. for fun dating stories. One time, S. brought her computer to the bar and we helped her write her Match.com profile.
Then, not two months later, two weeks after I returned from a vacation with (my husband) A. in Tanzania, I showed up and said, nonchalantly, “I think I might be pregnant.”
They looked at me, incredulous: “Why are you not running down to the corner to get a pregnancy test?”
“Because I’m not ready to know,” I responded with a shrug (and I wanted to take the test with A. on Skype, who was in Afghanistan at the time).
Turns out, I was pregnant, and the next week we all looked at each other, dumbfounded: “This is crazy,” we said. And, “Life really is changing.”
As my belly grew, we still met weekly and I sipped on virgin drinks. But when C. arrived, I was in the new mom haze and was trying to plan a wedding. A. was tired as she slogged out her last year of law school. S. was trying to get over a guy she fell for hard, and often showed up late. We tried to make it work, but our priorities seemed to be shifting.
Then I moved to the desert in November. When I left, they both gave me big hugs and S. had tears in her eyes. We knew that living cross country in different time zones would affect our weekly chats.
And it has. But A. and S. surprised me by buying cross-country flights for a long weekend. They arrived on Thursday. We were all out of sorts: S. had ended a relationship on Tuesday. A. found out Thursday she failed the bar (it was a fluke, and she already has a coveted DOJ clerkship). I’m treating a basal cell on my forehead — and feel unattractive.
Spirits were a little low — and the desert was unforgiving. The heat and sun drained our energy. S. was scared of snakes as we hiked through long grass. Two angry dogs chased A. down the street on her morning run (she was traumatized to point of tears, but ultimately fine). There was an argument while we played poker, and the blender — the one I use every day — broke.
I figured they’d want to go home, and never come back. But I know that would never happen: After several years of weekly meet-ups, we’ve created lasting friendships. Despite the mishaps, we had long, homemade dinners and great conversations. And S. gave us each silver necklaces with three rings — to symbolize our bond.
Yes, life continues to change: A. is moving to New York with her guy in the fall. The three of us may never live in the same city again. But I count myself lucky that these beautiful ladies will travel cross country for girls’ night. Because no matter where we are in life and love and family, we always need our friends.