My Flying Nun (Ally, Angel, Savior, Friend)

About a month ago I was gently reminded of how long this journey has been. I was out at breakfast and my phone rang. I had a phone call from someone I hadn't spoken to in a very long time. Now I don't indulge in the idea that once we aren't talking daily I no longer need your contact information. I keep every phone number and business card. I have every physical address book, date book and journal. I am not into the digital business of making space for new and getting out with the old. So boy was I glad to hear from someone who believed in the same. She called me out of the blue and within hours we were talking just like old times. Nothing had changed or did it?

Let me remind of you of how we originally met. I met her at my work. A place where there were always parameters between myself and my customers. I rarely blurred the lines.I never wanted to do anything to compromise my position yet I always welcomed anyone who requested my friendship. So in essence, I didn't take my work home or invite too many people in, but I accepted many invitations to "network". I swear not even a week after I left my former job, my phone rang and e-mails increased. My "customers" we're now friends eager to connect me with a new career, assistance in my travel plans or just meet up outside of the four walls we met in. She was always different and she was one of my best non-customers. I sent her away empty handed when she needed for someone to sell her something. I met her in the midst of the recession when it was discouraged to not sell something, anything. I think our particular interaction was refreshing for the both of us. Her response was to visit with me ever so often and remind me that I stood out among the crowd. For me she was motivational and kept my head in the game when most days I wanted out. 

Now here's the kicker. She's a tiny Puerto Rican woman and devout Catholic who travels restores Virgin Mary statues, designs rosaries and performs spreading the word. I am a non-religious, on the cusp of Atheism and Agnosticism, Black woman two times her size. When we met somewhere in the middle of what could have been a horrible demise (conversationally) we became the best of friends. She would meet with me and we would engage in debates over subjects that would normally bring others to blows. We agreed to disagree but we always respected each others positions. We had a lot more in common like art and photography too. She seemed to encourage me to utilize my good spirit like the one exhibited when we first met to find a higher, spiritual purpose. I in return sat out to to see who she was beyond it all. It was an immediate synergy that her presence gave me and for a long time I denied it. I tried very hard to establish a boundary. However, once I made my exit plan from my job I embraced our kindred friendship. We talked on the phone. We sent e-mails back and forth. We lunched. And soon she revealed to me her best kept secret.

My flying nun as I affectionally called her had been a resident of France. We sat across from each other at a restaurant lunch and I had a secret for her. I revealed that I would no longer be at the job and I spoon fed her my plans. She immediately began speaking in French and talking about how not to long ago she lived there. That lunch became the catalyst for so much not just between her and I but between me and my dreams. She explained how she lived in Paris. She then sent me pictures of her in these magical places and details on how she lived. Of course, she eventually returned back home in the States but became melancholy in discussing her return. She had been planning to go back to France but things kept happening placing her dreams on hold. She simply stated how important it was to stay on goal with my plans and to make a strong impression. She gave me just enough information to want to go more than I had originally felt. She solidified my plans, dreams and made everything seem so easy. She never got into the complicated stuff and how one feels to have to come back. 

When I left Miami flying to London I messaged her for what I thought was the very last time. I connected her with some of my other favorite customers and friends of friends. I really felt that I was setting her up with more than one "replacement". I felt as though those people could engage with her on our level. I believe I did it because I expected to never hear from or see her again. It wasn't about "oh I'm going to France and I'll never come back" but more or less that was then and this now and I felt she would agree. I regret that decision. I regret it. I don't regret any other choice in my journey but that. She could have been the lifeline that kept me there and she would have been my life preserver had I called her the moment I got back. I didn't think about it. Well, I didn't think it through. We had maintained minimal contact but through these cryptic emails. She'd left many of her spiritual and art hobbies to start working retail herself, attending dance classes and various other things. I decided to channel her and take pictures in all those same magical places. I sent them to her when I had downtime. She followed with pictures of her going to dance competitions and chain main etc. Soon the emails stopped coming. We never text. We just stopped communicating. I felt it was for the best. And I believed she felt the same. 

When she called me I didn't get the phone call that second. I keep my phone on silent and peeked at it during my breakfast. I excused myself to listen to her voicemail and she had been at my former job and asked about me. I then checked with some of my former co-workers to confirm. She had lingered and someone took a picture of her as a novelty and sent it to me after her voicemail. She looked so different. It had been over a year since I'd seen her, talked to her. Frankly, I was embarrassed to talk with her. I'd failed. I'd been defeated. I too put my dreams on hold for a myriad of reasons. I told her this when we spoke. I called her back and we stayed on the phone for two hours. We then text the reminder of the day. Then we spoke for nearly five hours over the night. We both had things to do and we're distracted at times but wow did our stories align. Her dad had been in hospice like my Grandmother. He had passed and so did my Grandmother. We had sickness to talk about. We had death to talk about. We had the the parent/child caregiver discussion. We talked about her working retail and that pressure. We talked about her being laid off for doing what brought us together. We talked about unemployment and money. And then there was France. 

That is what I'd missed. I had missed that dialogue. The conversation a recently space traveled astronaut has with one of the men who walked on the moon. It was as if a void had been filled. And thereafter a sense of mutual hope took it's place. We both had no one to share our stories with - the good or the bad. That melancholy aura at our lunch was now a mutual feeling. We now had both suffered from a homesickness and longing. That former parallel between us hit harder than all the other loss and devastation we had shared. She met me with the what-ifs. She explained that had I contacted her she could have helped me. She had plenty of people to network with for places to stay or to help me manage my money better. She could have motivated me like she had done some many times before. I too could have done that for her. I could have taught her how to navigate that balance of doing what is required along with what feels right to keep ones job. I could have helped her get her unemployment funds on the first try versus the third. However, all of these fateful blows were ironically what we needed. She needed to be home for her dad just I like I needed to come back for my mom. She needed to have the freedom to dance and return back to school. I needed this time to learn more about myself and to hone compassion as she had subtly advised.

I cannot tell you how much better I felt about everything once I spoke to her. The craziest part is how we both met at some very simple conclusions. We took these negative experiences and surmised that self spirituality made us better for it. In a sense, there was no God or scripture or plan that could arrange for what had been happening to her or her father. It was a self-discovery on how to prepare ones self for compassion, a parent/child switch of authority, sickness and death. And during each step you are reminded of what efforts you have made or will make to live and live right and well. Surprisingly, her faith was seldom mentioned but her willingness to do all she could in this life was. Hence the return to school and now that immediate re-scheduling of her dreams to travel again. No more talk about then and when and so much more about here and now. This is what took me. Although we hadn't been communicating, we we're in the same book and on the exactly the same page. For once, we omitted the friendly debate and connected on a deeper level. 

I cannot say for sure if our reunion (this way, so overdue) is what I wanted. I can say now that it was needed. I have been craving that deeper connection on so many fronts. I'd been struggling with facing all of the same issues and having no one to talk to about them. Surely, I could bring others up to speed on my whereabouts, the goings on and battles I faced. But there was no one who could say, on all fronts, "Yes, me too." And the timing of it all was just impeccable. I was longing to have my friend. Albeit someone else completely but something, someone out there * smiles * sent me her and they have done it over and over and over and over again. I cannot thank whoever and whatever has done this but I am ever so grateful. I cannot say enough how truly grateful I am. And for once I don't have to wonder if this friend, this confidant, this person in my life feels the same. I know it. I feel it. Did it have to come together like this? No. But I like to think everything (ever single tiny simple darn thing) happens for a reason. 

What if I hadn't been here with my mom eating breakfast?

What if I had quit my job before she'd restored my faith it?

What if we had never met?

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