Monday, January 22, 2007

The Pearl Girls

We had just been kissed. Alcohol didn’t figure into our lives. The “future” was the Homecoming Dance and a city named Paris we didn’t know and wading in the river, wondering what lie ahead. Our gaze was up, up and out, rosy, we never looked down. We didn’t pay any mind to the “V’s”—the submerged rocks that created eddies of white water. In our sandals, we ran through the shallow water, oblivious, not yet aware that the things you don’t see can kill you. The jagged edge in the middle of the stream doesn’t compare to what lies beneath.
Steinbeck set the course of our friendship: “Canary Row,” “Tortilla Flats, “The Pearl.” Our rusted little cabins were named after his works. Quite a literary setting for two fourteen year old girls from the American South, don’t you think? It suited us just fine. We were friends of a different sort, the “Pearl Girls.” That’s what happens when you’re dropped in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, accepted at face value, not obliged to talk about family drama or what kind of car Daddy drives.
The friendships, and days, are simple and full.
Twelve years (168 bottles of wine, loves won and lost, 2 semi-careers, 15 rounds of Brie, continent hopping, innumerable lonely Sundays) later, she visits me in New York…

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