All this chat about long distance letter writing might lead you to think that it's strictly the torrid paper romances that weigh heavily on your friendly blogger's mind.
But actually, my thoughts on letters have lead me to the many beautiful friends around the globe that I have loved and then been obliged to leave.
Life has taken me on so many paths - to places far flung and places extremely local - and at each stop I have made what Heather at the Extraordinary Ordinary calls 'heart gut friends.' These are the friends who own your very spirit almost from the beginning: the ones who inspire honesty, who call out your wickedest sense of humor, your noblest sense of compassion, and your drunkest protestations of loyalty.
All the chat about letter writing reminds me that I haven't written nearly enough to these friends - not paper, not email, not Facebook. As they travel the world - to Yemen, to China, to Holland, to Togo, to Germany, to Azerbijan, to Australia - I have tracked their progress, known where they were, but maybe at times have lost the heart-gut connection.
Doesn't mean I've forgotten them. Their marks on my heart are deep, and permanent. Before my last big move, from Europe back to the States, my lovely friend Esther (she of the most beautiful heart in the world) protested but how can you move?!? I feel that you will be moving out of my life, not just the country. As much as her words hurt my heart, I knew it was true that I might not see her for years (and I haven't. Seven long years later.) But what I had to tell her that day, what I have to believe, is that my heart-gut friends will only be around the next corner, always.
When I see them, we will pick up immediately where we left off. When we meet, we will offer great strong genuine bear hugs, and maybe cry and definitely laugh and know that there will be no recrimination for unwritten letters, for un-dialed phones, for unsent emails. We will sit down immediately and eat and drink and laugh and drink a little more and remember all the things about each other that bind us forever. We will meet new partners, new lovers, new children, and in all likelihood we will love them immediately too. We will go to sleep - maybe camped out on someone's couch, maybe all tucked up in a newly-remodeled guest room - glowing in the knowledge that we are back with our People. People who get you, who love you, and will welcome you back into their lives at a moment's notice. More than lovers: these friends are My People.
No matter where in the world they are tonight, they are mine. Y'all know who you are.