Everyone needs a Hally in their lives
In my case, Hally is all this and more. She still tells the story of the day we met. Apparently I walked right up to her in kindergarten (I was a bold one, even then) and announced, "Hey, you're Hally, right? I'm Liz. Let's play." Little did I know, she would evolve into my joined-at-the-hip counterpart for the next thirteen years or so, the loyal friend who never told about my fifth grade crush on Jason Brizzi, despite the fact that everyone already knew. (And damn if my dad didn't slow down the car every time we passed Jason's house, calling "Jaaaaaaaasoooooon..." and reminding me that If Lizzy G married Jason Brizzi, she'd be Lizzy Brizzi.)
That same year, Hally and my weekends were spent at the midnight screening of Rocky Horror. Her father was kind enough to carpool us and accompany us to the show, since our combined ages hardly allowed us legal entry to the theater, let alone the driver's seat of the car. And yet there we were, water pistols in hand and Charmin rolls at the ready, prepared to do the Time Warp with grownups.
Clearly inhibition wasn't our thing.
In sixth grade, lunch hours were spent at her house, inhaling melted cheese on English muffins so that we could get to the dancing. We were determined to be the first girl-girl performers on Solid Gold, and had choreographed a hot disco routine to Dancing Queen for our national television debut. We waited for the call but alas, it never came.
By junior high, we applied our passion in a more appropriate forum: Bar Mitzvas. We became known as The First Girls on the Dance Floor every Saturday morning. Adolescent self-consciousness? Puh-lease. If there was an organist plinking out Kool and the Gang, then that parquet floor was ours to conquer.
With the exception of a short, and perhaps necessary hiatus during those early teenage "finding yourself" years, Hally and I remained tight through more than a decade of little league, summer camp, soccer games and ballet recitals. Through band trips and snow days, unrequited crushes and college deferment letters, and many many Halloweens. By high school we were far too old for trick-or-treating, but who were we to pass up an opportunity to dress up in costumes and act like idiots?
So many details flooded back to me this week when Hally informed me she still has practically every note we ever passed to one another in class. Let me assure you, that's saying a lot. And then, this arrived in my email inbox this week:
The date at top: Jan. 6 1986!!! Extreme emphasis on the 86 because this was the year we had dreamed about for so long, the year we would graduate high school. The letter is the quintessential glimpse into the mind of a 17 year old, and after reading it, I feel like I've been judging the Ohmigod Girls of My Space a little too harshly.
Dearest Hallard, Hey...wassup? I'm quite fatigued. I am sitting here writing on my new and funky typewriter, even though I should be working on my short story. But that's okay, befcause I have all these frees with nothing to do and I really don't have to hand it in until Friday. I could hand it in earlier if I want, but I don't want...Compelling stuff, I know.
I go on to write the transcript of an imaginary interview with Hally after having been accepted into the college of her choice. Of course I'm with her, because what high school girl would agree to be interviewed without her best friend?
Interviewer: So, Ms. M...I always gave myself the good lines.
Hally: Just Hally's okay. And you can call her bitch 'cause that's what I call her.
Liz: Fuck you!
Interviewer: *ahem* Now Hally, what do you feel is the best part about getting accepted into a University such as George Washington? Is it the University's prestige? The thought of living on your own? The opportunity to expand your knowledge?
Hally: No, it's not any of those.
Interviewer: Well then, what is it?
Liz: I'll tell you the real deal. It's 'cause the drinking age is still 18
Today, Hally inspires me in a million different ways, not the least of which is because she's a single mom raising toddler twins on her own. (Well, on her own plus the proverbial village that it takes, as she'll be the first to tell you.) Whenever things get tough on the parenting front, I think, well Hally's doing a bang-up job and she's got TWO of them, and that always seems to do the trick. She speaks about parenting with more honesty than anyone I've ever known, and was the first to assure me that whatever I am feeling--good, bad or otherwise--is absolutely okay. More so, she was the first who I actually believed when she said it.
Hally's also mama to the world, an honest to God save-the-planet type who's actually doing just that, traveling the globe to rid the world of injustice and HIV, starting with the countries who can least help themselves. I have an entire collection of postcards from exotic places like Dominica, India, and Namibia that document her journeys across the world for the past fifteen years or so. Like Hally with the notes we passed, I've never thrown one of her postcards away.
The upside of all this: I'm ridiculously proud of her.
The downside to all of this: As she reminded me last night, she's moving to Tanzania. Next week. For two years.
With all of my work-related insanity of recent weeks, it absolutely slipped my mind. Or maybe I just conveniently put it out of my head, since it seems impossible that I could have forgotten. But now I'm stuck here on the left coast with no chance of hugging her goodbye before she leaves. The heartbreak I'm feeling is immeasurable, and the only solace I've found is in my possession of a webcam and copious frequent flyer miles.
Anyone up for a safari with me next year?
If you can't get enough of Mom101 today--and really, who ever can?--I'm blog sitting at Motherhood Uncensored today. So fun! Like having a summer home! Come visit me there and I'll grill up some hot dogs.