Let’s see. Bit of a wine headache, little bit groggy, and feeling like I spoke all the words ever invented — must have hung out with Jessica last night.

She arrives at my house and it’s like Texas has come for a visit. Always in a patterned skirt/blouse combination absolutely nobody else could pull off. Thick, dark hair that falls from a ponytail in slow motion like a scene from a movie. She acts like it’s no big deal. She’s filled with compliments, but she’s the one who always looks like the woman Sandra Bullock wants to be.

“All right, Miss Pama-lama. What is going on with you?”

We start decently enough — a cup of coffee as we sit on the couch and talk about the weather, as every conversation with a Texan starts with how hot it is or isn’t. We chit-chat nicely, pretending we aren’t waiting for stee to finish gathering his things and disappear.

We move to the porch. She praises the view, lights a cigarette and then that’s us for the next however many hours, until she can’t keep her eyes open anymore. Long after the cigarettes and the wine are gone. Past when stee returns from wherever he’s been exiled. “That’s where you were when I left,” he always marvels. That’s where we’ll be the next time he leaves us, too.

She’s got a laugh that echoes through my neighborhood. It lurches her forward, toward her knees, her tongue between her teeth and her eyes sparkling as she holds her wine glass and spills not one drop during this seizure of funny she’ll have a hundred times while you’re together.

This is the woman who has heard just about every story, confession, regret, wish, frustration and heartbreak of mine. And through it all she has been there, sitting across from me, eyebrows raised in sympathy. When she’s indignant, or angry on my behalf, she’ll stand and pace the two-foot distance of my porch. The Southern woman in her comes out, emphasizing every fourth word. “I cannot BELIEVE he had the AUDACITY to think that YOU would just walk OVER to him and SAY that. What kind of ASSHOLE is this guy?” And I’ll protest, thinking I must have told the story in a way that it sounds like I’m the innocent, and she’ll raise a hand and say, “No. No. He? Is an idiot.”

When it’s her turn, and she’s unloading the baggage of the past few weeks, she’ll pull her lips into her mouth in frustration as I remind her that she’s the superstar, and everybody else is just lucky to be around her. I probably say the words “What you need to do is…” about fifty times, and she always listens like the thought had never occurred to her, or it’s exactly what she wanted to hear. It can’t be that she’s always agreed with me. She’s just that good of a friend, that the (often unsolicited) advice is treated like a gift, and not a lecture.

We share horribly embarrassing stories where one of us has out-dorked the other. We praise each other, encourage each other, and gossip like the entire world is our Us Weekly. The hours fly by.

I am ever grateful to have her as my friend. She deserves six Keanus and a Duchovny that live in a (creepy) closet only she knows about.

When she leaves it’s quiet. Stee never asks what we talked about. “Had fun?” And I’ll nod, and wish we got to see each other more often. She works and I work and things get busy. While it never feels like we are out of touch, it always feels like I’m missing her.

My porch looks like a couple had a massive break-up on it last night. Time to wash the glasses, sweep the ashes, and wait for the next time Jessica can sit there with me again.

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