there are a lot of things in this world that i really love. the first rain after a hot summer, a good book, the way my dogs tail thumbs against the wall in the darkness when she hears me get home. and there are also a lot of things that i need. a place to rest my head, a healthy body, and of course food and water.
but throughout these past few weeks ive come to realize something very important to me that i both love and need.
and that's my best friend.
my last week in california was a whirlwind of laundry, suitcases, packing, and stress. but somehow in the middle of all that madness i found a way to escape to one of my favorite cities with one of my favorite people.
tuesday march 20th i woke up early, grabbed my already packed hot pink suitcase filled with way too many things for one night, and headed out the door. i scooped up some breakfast at starbucks and with the radio blasting country music i sang and danced and enjoyed the time alone for a two hour drive to the san francisco airport. the drive was easy and fun and the miles counting down on my gps made me more anxious and excited by the minute. after circling the parking garage trying to find the perfect spot i zipped on down the elevator into the terminal where i waited for char's plane to arrive. i didn't have much in my purse but in a sad attempt i was able to make a sign for her to see as she came down the escalator. unfortunately, i was too busy talking to the lady next to me that i missed her coming down! but we eventually found each other and after smiles and hugs we grabbed her bags and headed out the door.
the drive to our hotel was easy and we were both blabbing away about our drives and flights and trying to catch up on months of being apart. after checking into our ADORABLE hotel we both had one thing in common. empty bellies! we ended up walking on over to a little crepe and sandwich place called honey honey and there we ate sandwiches, drank italian sodas, and gorged ourselves on crepes. the one thing about me and char, and especially about our two days together, was that we never stopped talking. after we were so full we could sleep we went back and checked into our rooms, freshened up, and headed off to china town.
i would have to say that china town was by far one of my favorite parts of the trip. we drove around laughing and singing and trying to find a tiny little bakery that sells these delicious little treasures called gui me bows. instead of just getting them and leaving we decided to park and walk around a little bit. we finally found the bakery with the sweetest little ladies working there and bought our dessert. the thing i love most about san francisco is that no matter where you go you always feels like you are in a different world. its so amazing to see different cultures and people all smashed into one small area. we took pictures next to a bansky painting on the wall and had a mini photo shoot while a few people hung out their windows and stared. one of the most terrifying yet hilarious moments was when i encountered an older man outside one of the shops. i was looking at sparklers and a little piece of plastic wrap came out of the box. i tried putting it back in but i was afraid it might break the sparklers inside so i set it next to the box. out of no where this old man comes over and starts organizing things right next to where we were standing. he grabs the piece of plastic and throws it on the ground very mad-like. i was trying to put a box back down and he ripped it out of my hand and gave me the dirtiest look i have ever seen in my entire life. me and char decided to walk away and every place we went i was terrified that he was following us! he was literally the scariest old man ive ever seen! we laughed about him the whole entire rest of the trip and still to this day when i see an older chinese man part of me panics!
after we finished we headed back to our hotel for our complementary glass of wine in the gorgeous italian cafe called fino. we both got a class of their white wine and made small talk and giggled about the proper way to hold a wine glass. we ended up ordering bruschetta which was hands down one of the most delicious things ive ever tasted in my entire life. thinking about it now makes my mouth water. we ate, caught a little buzz, and made friends with the bartender. after contemplating on getting another glass of that delicious wine we decided to go to the store down the street and get some drinks to sip on while we got ready for the evening. after a long time of comparing bottles and prices we decided on a bottle of champagne and some cran-cherry juice. we toted it up our old fashioned elevator and settled into our room for the first time since we arrived. we both took showers and listened to country music pandora. we sang, drank champagne, and enjoyed having those precious moments together. you never realize how much you can miss a simple thing like getting ready together but it definitely is something i cherish. we both toasted to the future and to our friendship and it took everything in me not to cry. we had originally wanted to go to bubba gump's for dinner but it was already nine o'clock and the champagne has started to really kick in. we finished our last minute touch ups and decided to walk up the street to the little pub and diner we saw earlier in the day.
sutters pub had a good atmosphere and there weren't many people in there considering it was a tuesday night. char ordered another mimosa and had a french toast breakfast and i got a blue moon and chicken strips. one of my favorite things about the night was when we reached hands across the table and prayed together. it was an honest to goodness thanks and we laughed and took pictures through the rest of the meal. we walked back to our hotel freezing our butts off and after a long day of travel and champagne we settled into our shared full bed and talked for hours and hours before finally falling asleep.
in the morning we woke up and chars tummy was hurting. so we took our time getting ready and stayed in our room down to the minute before we had to check out. we drank one last cup of delicious orange water the hotel had set out and drove over to pier 39 to do our tourist thing and to finally get bubba gumps. we got our usual's, spicy chicken sandwich and blueberry lemonade (simply divine), and talked about how nice our waiters always are whenever we eat there. after we were stuffed to the max we walked around a little bit, shared a bag of cotton candy, and searched out one of char's favorite little stores. the stress of knowing we had only a few short hours left paired with there being so much left to do made me a little sad. char kept asking me what was wrong but i said nothing. because nothing was wrong. everything was perfect. too perfect. the realization that in less than a week i would no longer be in california made my heart hurt in all the sore places i wasnt ready to face. she ended up making me laugh and after a long, "what do you want to do-no what do you want to do" we decided to go to haight and ashbury.
haight and ashbury, much like china town, is its own little world. homeless people, garbage, and little stores line the street and political messages hang from every window. after shopping around and char buying the most adorable vintage dress ive ever seen we settled down in a little cafe and nibbled on cookies and sipped on hot white mocha's. one of my favorite moments was sitting in the cafe with her and talking. to be honest i cant remember exactly what we talked about but all i know is by the end of our talk i felt completely and totally at peace.
once we finished our cookies we hopped in the car and started the drive to the airport. on the drive we talked and made plans for the future. "i'll definitely see you christmas" and "i'd love to take a trip out there's" bounced through the front of my car but it felt so empty. hollow. i held myself together as i unloaded her things from the trunk and we said our first goodbyes. i walked over to get into the driver seat and said the same thing to her that i said when she moved away to orange county two years before. "so i guess i'll be seeing you." the moment the words passed from my lips i started sobbing. i ran around the car and into the arms that have held me up for fifteen years. it all finally hit me. 400 miles away from me has now turned into over 2000. instead of seeing each other a few times a year it might only be once or twice if we are lucky. how did these past two days together fly by so fast? why didn't i soak them up and savor them for all they are worth? through sobs i cried, "i cant do this without you" but without even skipping a beat char told me she's going to be by my side every single step of the way and im not even close to being alone. we hugged and cried together and finally had to say goodbye because she was going to miss her plane. i watched my five foot nothing best friend walk into the airport terminal not knowing when im going to see her again. and even writing this now a few weeks later it still makes my heart hurt to think about.
because not only do i love her and her friendship- i need her. and ive relied on text messages and scattered phone dates to keep me alive out here in florida these past three weeks. i sobbed a good portion of my drive home and felt an ache in my chest that i knew wouldn't go away for a while.
but all i know is that miles and miles may be separating us but nothing will keep us apart. we've been best friends for fifteen years and in the words of her, "we are rockin this friendship pretty hard."
those two days in san francisco will be with me all the days of my life and all i know i'll be seeing her soon.