Does anyone else have one of those friends who is so amazingly thoughtful that it is quite impossible to believe? Ours is a kind friend from college who – I kid you not!—remembers everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, and notable days and occurrences. The Great AM, is, it seems, supernatural.
It is kind of endearing, at first, as you get cards and letters and emails full of thoughtful well-wishes. But after a few years the guilt begins to mount, as you realize that you haven’t a clue of even what month her birthday is, much less her husband and kids. Heck, you can barely even remember what year she graduated (and it was the same year as you!). But the cards and letters continue, even when she’s a missionary in Ukraine, when for several years she must track all of the dates, pre-plan for air-mail delays, and get cards off just in time to ensure their arrival a couple of days before your birthday. So that, on top of the malaise you feel at yet another birthday, you can add the guilt of knowing that you’ll never be a halfway decent friend, and of course never ever be able to even begin to reciprocate her kindness.
When members of this old gang get together and she’s not around, we compare notes: yes, she remembers everyone! And everyone says, “she’s the best!” But keep the conversation on topic a little longer, and the guilt and mild resentment surface: “how does she remember all of those things! It’s impossible! I feel terrible!!” Our love for her is mixed with bitter jealousy.
So naturally it was only a few hours after I posted the news about our homecoming that I got an email from her (how did she get my email?) to see if she could “stop by” (she lives in Richmond, people!) to “drop off some old baby clothes”. Of course in our shock, we agreed, and tried to beat back the guilt we felt for not visiting her and her three kids.
The Great AM arrived, whirlwindy as always, beams of light shining from her eyes, and set down a huge box of the coolest boy clothes, pre-tested and pre-approved by her super-cool son, Drew. She looked exactly as she did at her wedding, only a little happier. One would never possibly believe that she just had a cesarean section only five weeks ago. Her well-trained husband was feeding the new baby in the car, and she came in to greet our babies.
It was a short but amazing visit that ended in a cacauphony of cries at their car (all the kids but Drew were screaming) as we said goodbye. I headed upstairs to celebrate the loot and to keep on with our afternoon schedule.
And I barely got to the computer to write this when I saw an email from her. She must have driven the three hours home, gathered her kids into the house, fed the whole family, and sat down at the computer. To do what? To thank us for the chance to get together with her. Can you believe it? And– final dagger– to wish us a happy upcoming anniversary.
I hate her.