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Poetry Magnum Opus

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As Reflected in the Eyes of an Old Friend



The 3500-year-old Rig Veda describes the individual as a crystal woven into the cross threads of the fabric of the universe. Our reflection is colored by the myriad of other crystals that surround us into infinity. I am who I am as perceived in the eye of the beholder, whether it be you the reader, myself, a stranger I pass on the street, a coworker, a lover, acquaintance or a friend. Last night I received a phone call from one of my oldest friends. She was wrapping herself in the tattered and worn fabric of her memory and grasping at the elusive rainbow of color she perceived to be me.

Her first words reflected me as a young girl. "Is this ?", she used my maiden name. The weak voice was unsure and timid. It was not the strong, assured voice of my life long friend, but I recognized her. We've known each other since the 3rd grade. She reminded me she lived on the block above mine. We walked to school together. She was always pulling on me, afraid of being late while I would hang back picking up pretty leaves or finding some other distractions. We both sang in the choir, she is a soprano, sometimes soloist. I am an alto, I sang harmony. Our differences separated us and brought us together. She followed the rules, I blurred them. To her, I reflected the golden optimism of our youth.

She gained confidence and mentioned our time at college, we swam together at the same school. I literally saved her from drowning. No great feat of heroism, she panicked and thought she was drowning, she just needed calming and I was there. If I hadn't been, she very well may have. Two small fish in a big pond. Her first love was no good for her, controlling and abusive. It was me she confided in, hid her from him, took her to get help. She was breaking free of the rules and I was her guide. I was her savior, the blue glow of trust my mantel.

Then we went our separate ways when she went east to another school and I dropped out to earn some money. She returned to be my maid of honor, and I was her matron of honor a few years later. I embraced my passion for horses, rode color guard, trekked into the wilderness, became a Mom and eventually an insurance agent. She was an early childhood teacher who went on to get her Masters then Ph.D. She became a sex therapist and eventually a corporate consultant. Though we lived on separate ends of the state, we continued to get together at least once a year. I remain married to my first husband, while she had three husbands and a couple of lovers. Yet she saw me as the explorer and wrote about my scarlet adventures in her thesis.

The last time we spoke, almost 4 years ago, she was preparing to move and she'd recently fallen and had had a concussion which caused some short term memory loss. Near the end of the conversation, she sounded irritated because I was asking too many questions. Then her birthday card was returned and her voice mail was full. She disappeared from social media and fell off the grid until last night. She was in a hospital, she didn't know why what hospital or what city. She didn't want to talk about herself, she wanted me to do the talking. She couldn't remember her address but would tell me next time we talked. I know she is being cared for, though I fear she may be lost to me. But here we are in our winter white, and she is reaching for the swath of colors she perceives me to be.

rainbow hues
reflect off crystals
colors of me

Keep writing,  ~~ Judi


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