At some point, you just move forward
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Catching Courage

“How exciting! We’ll have a slumber party. Catch up on old times. When will you get here?” Jaycie sounded as eager as I was.

“It’s all very iffy. I haven’t even talked to Frank yet. I can’t imagine his reaction. I want to get the lay of the land first before I broach the subject of leaving New York.”

As a fellow journal keeper, she understood how tectonic plates can shift so subtly that the movement can only be tracked by daily entries and the parade of recurring of dreams.

I told her how in so many dreams I’m on the corner of Broadway and Kentucky walking North.

Just at that moment I finally understood: from Miss Peggy’s Dance Academy to the library on Third and Kentucky. I choked. Speechless. We both laughed and cried.

“Your timing is off. I just sold a four bedroom house there within walking distance of the library. Built in 1870, and I renovated it from top to bottom. You’ll scream when you hear the price.”

She told me the price.

I screamed.

She reeled off the prices of other houses and properties she knew were for sale. My head spun. After the astronomical real estate listings in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, the amounts sounded, well, incredible. Doable. Possible.

We hadn’t talked for a couple of months. I’ve never laughed so hard as with Jaycie. She always recounts the merest slivers of stories with an ironically hilarious twist.

“…so I bought him a dress and a bra, and to fill it out, I found a foam rubber football and cut it in half, and then with the Dolly Parton wig…”

“Jaycie, Jaycie, wait a minute. My mind must have wandered. You’re talking about your husband?”

“Oh yes, it’s his gift to make people laugh. That’s what he gives to the world. He’s taking his singing act on the road, and I’m helping him get costumed. It’s a riot. And I’m sewing a rooster suit for him, too.”

Of course, she would hook up with a funny, deep, generous guy in her new life story.

I’ve known Jaycie forever—since first grade. We occasionally lost touch with each other when our children were small, but we’ve had periodic reunions and phone conversations ever since. Always, it is as if no time has passed, and we pick up the conversation mid-sentence where we left off.

She fills her stories with wonders, signs, marvels, and always the odd detail juxtaposed with another: a discarded wooden leg, a Halloween mask and a trenchcoat, a bottle of ranch dressing, an overflowing bathtub.

She could begin, “So I bought the paint…” and I would double up with laughter, remembering that claw-foot bathtub we painted lavender so many years ago.

We’ve become more alike through the years as we’ve gone through the predictable developmental changes. Things that once seemed important have utterly dropped away. At the same time, new careers, husbands, purposes, and needs for meaning have emerged.

“So here’s Bobbi’s phone number. She sold my house; she’s impeccably honest; she knows everyone in town; and you can’t go wrong with her.”

I felt stronger already.

1 comment

1 Beverly { 04.27.08 at 1:12 pm }

Hello Ellen,
Enjoyed reading your new blog. I remember reading the first one years ago before your big move. Moving is traumatic and Frank must have gone through quite an upheaval. You look well and happy in your photo. I do hope you’re able to continue with your tales of the move and settling in. Looking forward to more. I have a feeling that you’re heading into a long, creative and energetic period. Lots of luck. Beverly

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