When gunfire goes off near where she lives, it means there's gang-related activity going on in her neighborhood. When gunfire goes off near where I live, it means that someone is hunting in the woods by my house. She is in her freest, most nomadic time in her life. I am in my most anchored.
Her dating life is the stuff comedies, dramas, poems and plays and sonnets build from, varying and textured and filled with sudden turns and dead ends, heartbreak and triumph. My path smoothed off early on, when I met my husband when I was 19 and convinced I was done with the dating scene. While the road dipped and turned, I spent my young adult life alongside my partner in crime, thoughts of potential marriage wiggling its way into my mind before I was even 23.
In a way, we've always been on opposite ends of the spectrum. I have long hair and pale skin -- skin that has yet to see a drop of tattoo ink, no matter how much I fuss over possible projects. She has short hair and olive skin that is already painted with two incredible tattoo projects. She's Katharine Hepburn; I'm Audrey. Opposite ends of the spectrum, but on the same wavelength, which I think is the most important.
We started off in junior high, walking the mile or so stretch of road between our houses, pausing at the midway point to pick up a second friend. Sometime in our teenaged year, the second friend fell by the wayside and we hung out one on one. Our time together morphed from walking to the 7-11, feeling like adults as we payed for our Slurpees and made our way to the park, to driving around town -- specifically, any town, so long as it wasn't our hometown. It was like our not-so-little hometown was inside a bubble, and we had to escape it on a daily basis, lest we suffocate and die.
And then we went off to college. From our different locations, we met boys, we lost boys. We got into hijinx and we got stressed out. We graduated and found jobs. I got engaged and she was my maid of honor, leading the charge even as her own relationship was on its final lap.
We can wander away (or sometimes storm off) and come back with almost no effort, picking up conversations where the left off, regardless of how long ago they had been paused. And it doesn't matter if the problems are completely foreign to us. Sometimes we throw our hands up and go, "I have no experience to shape my advice, but I'll try the best I can." And the other one listens and goes, "The important part is you're here."
I told her that, if she had the gumption to move, I'd have the gumption to run. We email each other our writing the same way a little kid shows off his drawing to his mom. We were like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, only with considerably fewer drugs.
Katharine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn were two totally different actresses. Two different personalities, two different styles, two different ways of handling their roles. But they each brought something to the table. Something new and interesting that set each a part in the golden age of film. It's a pity they were never related, or even close friends. How interesting the world is when you're with something so different from you, yet so the same.