Ah, Day 16 is devoted to sweet Mel. Mel and I met when I went back to school to finish my bachelor's degree at WOU. She is an effervescent, bubbly personality - loving and fun. We hung out together at lunch many times and I was attracted to her energy. The day after the last day of the term, Roby went into the hospital and I took a leave of absence for a term. As it was only the second term, I missed some major bonding with the group. One term was not enough to solidify relationships with most of the people there.
I was fairly consumed by my grief and loss, so I didn't really worry too much about what those folks thought or if they missed me. One day, about a month later, Mel called me on the phone to tell me that she was thinking of me and hoped I was doing well. There was no pressure to come back or explain anything to her. Just a sincere call from a friend. She etched a special place in my heart that day.
I went back to school and went through all the stages of grief - classic, really. Mel was always there with a smile and encouragement. She checked in on me when I was in my "anger" phase - someday, maybe I will tell that story here, too. And she always had a ready laugh or a shoulder.
The following year, I started hanging out with many of the same people she was friends with and we sort of solidified our friendship in the group. We went to a lot of parties together, drank a lot at those parties, told some great stories and LAUGHED!! But all that aside, she always rememebered to ask me how things were going or how I was doing.
Years later, we had both gone on to freelance interpreting, moving around in our separate world, but she still maintained connections. I was never good at that - I had always moved away - far away - from everyone and there is a point where hanging on to friendships just seems like desperation, so I am not as diligent with my friends as I should be sometimes. I am working on it... She invited me to her beautiful wedding, she invited me to her home for parties and dinners and games. She even introduced me to the company where I work. Sometimes, I curse that, but more often than not, I am grateful.
Whatever happens, Mel has a heart of gold and I know that we are truly friends. She even invited me to see "Twilight" with her peeps when I hadn't even read the books...I thought I could finish the first one before I saw it, but I failed (I'm still working on that, too).
So, Mel- thank you for your heart and your laughter. You are good to me and I know it. I thank you for being a true friend - through good times and not so good times. I appreciate you.