Odd friends Overstepping Social Boundaries

5 years ago

This morning, as I drank my cup of coffee, I sent a text message out to my best friend, Audrey, inviting her to a coffee date at Starbucks on Friday morning.

We're an odd pair, she and I.

Having met a few years back, the two of us became fast friends. It seemed inevitable. We shared an undeniable love of books, we were both mothers, and we both shared an undeniable love of art. While I express my emotions through writing, she expresses hers through pictures. She is an amazing photographer. We "clicked" instantly.

Since then, we share almost everything, cry together, laugh together, and vent to each other when the need arises. And while talking on a continual basis, crying and laughing together, and meeting for occasional trips to the coffee shop or the book store doesn't seem unusual, many people would hardily disagree. For there is one fact I have failed to reveal. We also share a child together on a joint custody basis.

Audrey, aside from being my best friend, is also my oldest daughter's stepmother and my ex-husband's wife, and I couldn't be prouder of my ex-husband's choice. To many, this seems strange.

Together, Audrey and I face a lot of criticism in our choice to be friends. Not only friends but the closest kind of friends. And we are not strangers to people's incredulous reactions. For example, my oldest daughter had a routine dental appointment, and I invited Audrey to come along. This visit didn't assuage the "not normal" talk we'd heard whispered behind hands or told to us point blank face to face. In fact, the dental assistant, upon discovering our relationship was immediately so amazed and flabbergasted, that she called other assistants in to meet us.

This reaction has always daunted Audrey and I. Are we not supposed to be friends? Have we crossed some unknown social boundary?

People are continuously asking us how we make our relationship work. Our response: how could we not?

Considering the fact that Audrey did not know myself or my ex-husband before our divorce, there is no awkwardness related to my past marriage. But, even if I had known her then, I think we would still be friends.

We are alike in many ways: we are both mothers, both artistic, both book lovers, and both extremely obsessive compulsive. But, we are also different in many ways. I am a quiet woman, reserved, and hard to provoke. Audrey is an extrovert who isn't afraid to express her opinions. Together, we balance each other out perfectly. I keep her grounded and she keeps me from being "too" grounded. Together, we make the perfect woman.

It is amazing to me where life affords us the opportunity to make friends. And, I will be eternally grateful for having met Audrey.

 As I finished my cup of coffee, Audrey answered my message with a quick, "Hell, yeah. What time?" This is definitive of our relationship. We enjoy each other's company and conversation.

This made me quickly consider women as a whole.

Women make wonderful friends and even worse enemies. We understand each other in ways men can only guess at. Our layers are complex, we know how to love without inhibition, and we know how to hurt one another deeply. It is all part of being a woman. I wouldn't change it for the world. The most important things in life are the people we love. Being a woman allows me to see love in ways men can never experience. Pregnancy being one. I am thankful for being a woman. And I am so very thankful that I have some amazing women in my life: my best friend and my two sisters.

On that note, I am very much looking forward to that Friday cup of coffee . . .:)


R.K. Ryals

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