This past Spring and Summer was anything but “easy” for me. In fact, I would be keen to say that it was the most difficult part of my life. A divorce is more than a separation from a person, it’s a separation from the consistency, regardless if it’s good or not, in your life. A variable removed, for the good or bad, and I believe that with every action comes a reaction.
A reaction of my divorce was this blog, for example. It was the means of communication to those who weren’t able to ask me about the divorce themselves, and I never faulted them for it. In fact, it was super awkward sometimes when they’d ask. Or even now, when people who are not familiar with my history, find out about it. I didn’t want them to feel uncomfortable, and this served my own self interest seeing as it became a catharsis and a mental release from the bad voices in my head. We all hear voices – don’t play. If you want to say you’ve never heard them, you’re a liar.
Another reaction of my divorce was, well, unexpected.
I wasn’t expecting to be making any friends from a divorce. I wasn’t expecting to be dating someone ever again – I felt like I was a broken, used car part – I’ve had my run of the mill. I had the wedding, I had the friends – yet, I found two people this past summer who are the two most important people in my life. This post is about her. It’s about you, silly girl.
This summer my friend Randi, who is amazing and I miss her a lot, graduated with her PhD from Tech. I had helped her at various points with her experiments, which definitely included taking home blue crabs for a low country boil. I sat at her kitchen table nosy about what her research results were yielding, and asking her to explain what the charts and graphs she was looking at, and it was really awesome to watch her defend her thesis. She worked really hard for her degree, and she was damn sure going to celebrate it.
Her family had flown in from California and were here for the weekend to support her through her thesis defense. That night a bunch of us all met up for dinner at Randi’s house and that’s when I first met Larisa. She came in a little later than I did, with a mutual friend, Lauren. I was very intimidated by her at first, but I didn’t stay much longer after she arrived before I headed out.
But the celebration continued! And how do we celebrate things in the summer in Atlanta? Oh yeah, that’s right – we shoot the ‘hooch.
For those unfamiliar with the geography of Atlanta, there is a huge river that practically runs down the middle of it. In the summer time it is fun to purchase super stupid rafts, like swans, or turtles, or sharks, and float down this river with a cool beverage in hand. Some people do the safer thing and ride down in canoes or kayaks, but really, it’s more fun to go down in a float while drinking in the fun summer sun. For those of you who are not familiar with this – yes, it’s super “red neck.” But it’s damn fun.
Well, the other part about this celebration is that my ex-husband also came down the river with us all. At this point, he was still my husband, and I was still divorcing him. Awkward level +1000. So I get into my float, get into the river and start down when I bump into Larisa who then offered me a beer.
The Champagne of Beer – A Highlife – it was the golden can that became a symbol of our relationship. It was the hook, line and sinker – no pun intended. The two of us linked up on the hooch, and the laughter began. The ridiculousness began. The friendship – sparked.
After a few beers worth of liquid courage I told her that my soon-to-be ex husband was on the river with us. Larisa gawked and looked down the river to where he might have been, but of course there were about thirty people on the ‘hooch, so like she’d actually point him out. By that point, too, I could have been pointing at a tree – the likeliness of that happening = strong.
That’s when we came to the cliffs. The cliffs are a stopping point for nearly all who shoot the ‘hooch. It’s a cliff that you can climb up on and jump off into the river. It’s also where a lot of people pull up onto the shore to chill out and watch as girls squeal the whole way down into the water, or for the occasional dare-devil to flip off of – and it’s also where most people realize “woah-muh-guh -imma so drunk.”
That was me. That was Larisa.
Larisa at this point became increasingly concerned for the health of this woman who, granted, was burning like a hot coal. She was red. Larisa took it upon her to spray her down with sunscreen screaming about cancer – and I, of course, helped.
Now, really – from here, most of this is second-hand information, because by this point we were both too ridiculous to really be held accountable for any of our actions.
Here are the few things I do remember: swimming across the river to the cliffs, climbing up them and getting ready to jump with Larisa off of them. Larisa telling the guy in front of us who was teetering on the edge that he was “a damn pu***” and to “move outta the way” for the two of us to jump. We then went flying, hand-in-hand, off of the cliff screaming the whole way down. I remember that Fox5 news was on the river bank filming for the Atlanta summertime fun. I doubt that it’ll ever air – I flashed them in the background. And I remember constantly adjusting the swimsuit top that was incredibly too small for me.
From that point, it really is second-hand information. Here’s the post that covers a lot of it:
From that point forward, Larisa and I have had an interesting relationship. I convinced her to come out to watch me play ultimate frisbee that summer. I met her at her apartment, we drove together to the fields, and watched. I was still suffering from a bum knee, so the two of us took to the sidelines with mini-highlifes to enjoy the heckling.
We went to the Braves Game that summer with her friend and my boyfriend, Jac. We were in the chop house and made friends with random strangers by reenacting Captain Morgan and Mount Rushmore. We ate tapas at some latin place, we went dancing at a bar downtown and then sat on the connector trying to get home at 3am because a street sign had fallen.
The best way to describe our relationships is irrational, rational, loving, crazy, fun, exciting and awesome. We also have an agreement, that should she turn 39 and I’m 40 and neither of us are married, we will get married and spend the rest of our lives together. Hence, her last comment above.
This is my unlikely friendship, but – I love it. And I’m so glad to have her in my life.