Today, I gratefully arrived at the home of my best friend, Jen, and, in the stillness of the space, I climbed onto her bed, nestled under her fuzzy Broncos blanket and drifted blissfully off to sleep. I was extraordinarily tired from a night of restless tossing and turning amidst the nightmares and between the trips to the restroom to be sick. Feeling disoriented and as though I had traveled back and forth through time prior to waking added to the overall sensation of something just ain’t right.
I texted her early today and asked to crash at her place after my morning class and prior to picking up my daughter from school. I breathed a sigh of relief when she said, as usual, “yes” and felt even more grateful as I nestled in the warmth of her quiet home. I faded in and out of sleep, hearing her son and step-daughter coming and going. When Jen arrived home, she peeked in to let me know she was there, as well as a mutual friend of ours and then she softly shut the door behind her and I drifted off again into Never Land.
When I awoke, a couple hours later, I felt a bit more refreshed and set up my laptop beside her on the dining room table. As is normal for us, we sat beside one another doing our separate work and a lot of giggling. It is a joy to “work” together!
We joked with one another, read articles to one another and shared music. I tortured her with songs from our youth and she laughed as I found more and more to taunt her with until she held up her hands in defeat.
Soon, it was time for me to pack up and go to get my daughter. Jen stopped what she was doing and watched as I went through my routine – not even realizing I had a routine. I felt her watching me and I could sense her curiosity and her smile. I glanced at her and she grinned.
Then she said something that took my breath away, “I love you and your little rituals, Angie.”
I stared at her, my lip balm container halfway to my gaping lips. I took a breath and said, “My little rituals?”
“Yeah. I have them too, that’s why I noticed them. You do certain things in a certain order and I love watching that.”
I was speechless. I had a sense of “being caught” but it was not accompanied by the usual horror-feeling that comes with being caught. “Oh, you mean like get out my key; get out my lip balm; put on my lip balm; put way my lip balm; put in my phone; zip up my purse.”
“Yeah,” she giggled. “Like that. Those are just some of the little things you do that I love.”
She hugged me good-bye and I slithered out of her house quickly so she wouldn’t see the impending tears in my eyes. I couldn’t stop them. They were so sudden and full and waiting to burst forth and I couldn’t breathe with the intensity of the sensations. And when I slid into my car, I cried outright and let the tears wash down my face as I began to breathe.
For a few moments, as I drove, I wondered about the intensity of the feelings. Suddenly, I understood. She had SEEN me! Thus ensued a text conversation we had a little later:
Angie: I love that you know me like that… that you see and recognize my little patterns of which I’m unaware. It’s nice to be known like that. I’ve never allowed anyone to while, at the same time, longing for it. Now… I’d like to do that with a man in a romantic relationship. Gulp.
Jen: Ppppprrrrrrrr Nice awareness my friend!!! It’s nice to see you.
Angie: In that moment, when you stopped, watched me and acknowledged what you were witnessing with a smile, I saw myself for the first time. That is how I look at others but have never had it reflected back to me. No one has ever said, “I love that little thing about you.” Ever.
Jen: Oh honey. I love you! I want you to experience that a million times!
Angie: Oh fine! Now I’m crying. Thanks for that! (truly. Thank you.)
Jen: Ya well you started me crying first!
Angie: How did I make YOU cry?
Jen: By what you said about not being seen before!
Angie: It was stunning. I was actually breathless with wonder as I walked out to my car.
Jen: Oh that is so sweet!!! Amazing what little things can do! I have watched you before and just didn’t say anything.
Angie: Thank you for saying something today. It startled me awake.
Jen: LOL that’s a nice startle! my pleasure!
Angie: I love you, Jen. Thank you again.
Jen: I love you Angie
It was a simple gesture and, yet, it meant so much. Jen had no idea that speaking a truth about something seemingly so little and mundane could and would result in something so profound. I was, suddenly, so aware of how I see the world and how I allow others to see me. Perhaps others have been seeing me like that, maybe they have even said something and I’ve not allowed it in. But what I understood in that moment and the moments that followed, is that I’m in a space where I can allow it.
And I feel really happy about that.