Grit and fluff

We’ve held off until the last minute on choosing Halloween costumes this year. At 14 and 11, my daughters are too old for the kid costumes sold at local Halloween shops and have to make sure that whatever concoction they come up with for a homemade look comes together just right.

This morning on the way to school, both girls determined what they’ll be: Celia an 80’s girl with leg warmers, a headband and t-shirt with a ragged neckline (my mom used to sigh audibly every time I brought out the scissors to trim my own perfectly-good clothes back in the day, so I guess it’s my turn), and Helena a zombie. One will be perky, the other, well, dead. An interesting combination.

Lately, I’m experiencing an interesting, sometimes surreal, combination of emotions and visions when working on my book about the friendship between Edwina and me. One moment, I find myself in a narrative about one of the darker episodes we’ve shared, like the time she and I spent in pre-op at Cooper Green waiting for Edwina to be wheeled in for a mastectomy. Edwina was crying because she just knew the doctors were going to put her to sleep and forget to wake her up.

A few pages later, though, I discover a much lighter tone–a shopping expedition with Edwina and Aubrey or an exchange we shared that threw us both for a loop.

Case in point: Edwina recently asked me to pick up some soap for her, since she tends to run low on money at the end of the month. I promised I would, but admitted that things were pretty hectic at work so she’d have to hold on until I found five free minutes to run over to her place.

Immediately, she began texting me.

“Ok. Which five minutes it be? I goin to the dr. this five minutes and I be home this five minutes” and so on. Standing beside Edwina in pre-op, I felt our worlds collide, while a simple exchange about me delivering some soap turned to confusion.

I suppose that’s the point–of the book and of the very bond the two of us share. Ellen Zahariadis, executive director for the local Komen affiliate, recently referred to Street Smarts as a great program because it intentionally rolls  “fluff and grit” into one concerted effort. She could just as easily be talking about Edwina and me: biting into cookies with pink icing one minute and heading to an overcrowded ER the next to tend to my friend’s latest physical need.


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