May 25, 2008

I have made a new friend for life

I won't call it a love affair because that suggests there will be an end. It's more like a love story. Best of all, there is no snoring, no post-coital regret, no unreturned phone calls or awkward silences. From the moment we met we knew there was chemistry and since then, not a day has gone by where we haven't spoken.

I have made a new friend for life.

Her name is Sophie and we met through an ex. A few years ago I briefly dated Jack, the sort of man who does not have "girlfriends". So he is an ex-something and we remained good friends. Sophie is his new something.

Whenever Jack spoke about her he would use her name. I knew this meant she was special. Usually it's "The one from Georgia" or "The go-go dancer" or "The clutcher."

He also mentioned how similar we are. Both of us writers, with challenging childhoods and Jewish. Or as Jack put it: we both love to talk. I was eager to meet her.

The three of us went out to dinner. Instantly it went from "nice to meet you" to finishing each other's sentences. The conversation was 0 to 60 in under five seconds.

When I got home that night there was an e mail from her waiting in my inbox. I wrote back immediately. The following morning, the discussion continued over e mail and then I can't remember who called who first but we stayed on the phone until we made plans to see a movie later that afternoon and then after that we talked on the phone again into the evening.

It was so easy and uncomplicated. I didn't worry if I was calling too soon. I didn't wonder if I was making myself too available or if maybe I'd imagined the connection or if she'd change her mind and never call back. Instead the conversation flowed seamlessly and every topic - from having friends in common, being born two days apart or liking the same cookie from the wheat-free bakery - seemed exciting.

Plus, we had the same taste in men. That's five years of conversation right there.

As many women know, it's harder to make close friends as you get older. People come in and out of your life but when you meet someone you don't have to explain yourself to - it's a gift.

And this was the ideal relationship - the kind where you call and say, "It's me" and the person at the other end doesn't reply: "Me who?"

On Monday I called Jack to thank him. In 24 hours Sophie and I had probably had more verbal communication than Jack would have in his lifetime.

I told him I would always be grateful he'd introduced me to Sophie because it felt like I'd met my long lost sister. Being separated by birth means there's a lot of catching up to do.

Just then, as we were on the phone he said an e-mail arrived. It was from Sophie. She was writing to thank him and said she felt like she'd met her long lost sister.

He was getting the gratitude in stereo. "She said that?" I asked. "She used those same words - long lost sister?"

I told Jack I had to go. I needed to call Sophie.

We use the same words and feel the same way. If only she was a man - this would be it; I'd be engaged.

Then again if she were a man, it probably wouldn't work out. I'd never be able to trust it because it would be too good to be true. And no amount of reassurance would help. Soon it would sour. Anticipation would turn to dread. I'd call but days would go by before I heard back. IF I heard back. Then I'd feel rejected. And angry. I'd lose weight.

Thankfully, that's not going to happen. In fact, the only thing that troubles me is that I can't see a downside. I'm sure I have the capacity to screw it up - but how? It's worrying me that I can't see this. It means I can't prevent it.

I asked Sophie if she sees a down side. "Yeah you travel a lot."

How come it's never this easy with a man?