Do you remember the evening in the washroom, you’re a little blurry, ecstatic, I’m leaning against the lipstick-stained walls, nose a little overwhelmed from the admixture of perfumes. Laying low, somebody whispered, ‘I look like a potato’ and everybody shouted “NOO!” You didn’t know her and neither did the rest of us present there but you all knew how it must have felt to take one look in the mirror enough to generalise such a conclusion.
Do you remember the night you called her anxiously because it weighed so bad, she stayed calm until she decided to cry along with you. She’d laugh later, you know she will. You hope she does. The next morning you wake up to links to YouTube and podcasts for mindfulness with lines that always end with little pink hearts, ‘you better have a good day’. You’re only grateful.
The times she fixed your eyeliner wings and asked you to add more sparkles to it because ‘you deserve it’. Affirmations came in the tiniest of ways, she usually left them hanging in notes on your wall. ‘Read that book!’ ‘You’re my Beyonce!’ ‘We got this!’ Maybe we didn’t need to associate idealistic stories that provided a narrative of the importance of female friendships nor did we have to listen to Adele’s backdrop of her latest album “30” to feel grateful for our friends, but Lord it helps. Leaning against the wall we watch as they dance terribly, you are always laughing but you also only dance to laugh. I am hoping it stays.
"Do you remember what little relief feels like? It feels like a lot," are the lines that I recall the most. I read it to you, and you asked me to read what I wrote, and I did, about the way I lived my life as a drifter, hoping I'd finally find a place to stay someday. ‘How come you’ve always been my favourite writer’, she teases a little, ‘You’ll make it, I know. I just know.' I smile, a little relieved. Female intimacy I understand now, stems largely from affirmations, leaving you for a lifetime of tellings, ‘I have my girls. I have my girls.’
Most girls, experience a certain sort of physical intimacy in female friendship which could be as bare minimum as an entwined pinky fingers in class or a whole affectionate bunch of ‘you mean so much to me I will lie flat to tell you how much I love you’ which I don’t think most men experience amongst themselves. You see, we are not afraid of touch, we embrace it.
There is absolute comfort in knowing you have your girls. Many times such comfort comes in translations, ‘you better not make me punch him in his face’ only for you to look at her arms which would probably get broken if she did. Please laugh, I hope you do. I hope you’re not conscious, you have a pretty smile. You see, some of us are desperately trying to be kind.
So we’d grow along, watering the plants we gifted each other, learning to take better care of things, unlearning to take better care of ourselves. And as I sit tonight to write this, I’m reminded of someone beautiful who once told me, ‘For I have learned to love myself right by loving these girls I have.’ I think this affirms universally.
[The title of the essay has been altered and embraced from Shakespeare’s Hamlet]