Pure Joy

There are some people who, when they’re around, you can’t help but feeling life is good, all is right with the world, there’s nothing better than this.

That’s the way it is with Cedric.

See, we met many, many years ago. But he was too self-absorbed to be my friend at that time. I dated his brother’s best friend all through high school. He, however, went to a different high school, the “exclusive” high school in our small town in North Carolina, RJReynolds, otherwise known as Society Hill.

We met again in San Francisco. We had happened to go to the same university. And had happened to both end up in the Bay Area. And had happened to end up on the same alumni mailing list. There was a notice that Cedric was coordinating a rave dance event South of Market and his contact information. I wasn’t really into raves, but I was just married, new-ish to the city, and craving connection.

I called. And left the following message. “Uhm. Hi, Cedric. This is Lori. Lori Simos. Lori McLeese Simos. I just saw your name in our Bay Area Alumni newsletter and that you’re coordinating an event and I’d like to help. Or something. I think we know each other. Aren’t you Chris’ brother? Well, hope you’re doing okay. Give me a call when you can.”

He returned my call promptly and we haven’t been apart since. Not “haven’t been apart” in the we see each other every day, do everything together, hang out in the same social circles “haven’t been apart.” More of a “you know me so well, I can tell you anything and not fear being judged, you are always there when I need you even if I don’t know I need you” kind of way.

We had planned to meet for dinner. I was running late. Not surprisingly. But wanted to be on time. Wanted not to disappoint. I arrived at the restaurant 5 minutes after our meeting time. He wasn’t there. I sat outside to read, relishing the cool breeze, loving the coolness against the perspiration I had worked up on my way up the hill. Words, words, words. My muscles relaxing. I felt my phone vibrate. I recognized the number, I thought. “Hi.” “Hello, dear. I thought that was you. Look to your right.”

I glanced up, dropped my phone, ran and threw myself at him. He swung me through the air. “Lori, Lori, Lori…” We hugged tighter. We kissed. We hugged. We screamed. We relished each other’s company. “I am so glad to see you. Have I ever told you how glad I am that you are a part of my life? Let me tell you now.” We laughed then laughed even more at the people’s reactions in the restaurant. Who was this couple? Who couldn’t stop laughing? Who couldn’t stop smiling? Who couldn’t stop talking over each other, trying to find out what was new, what was old, what was important? At one point he grew silent, looked at me in all seriousness and asked, “Do you realize what this is?” I thought. I didn’t. Or did I? No, I didn’t. “What? What is it, Cedric?” “This is our ten year anniversary. It was ten years ago that you called me.”

After many hours of talking, of discussing, of arguing, I left. Left, knowing that if everyone else in the world deserts me, I still have Cedric.

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