When Cali pulls into my driveway, I am still in the driver’s seat, bulked in, my head on the steering wheel. Cali opens up the passenger’s side door and climbs in. Her long blonde hair is pulled up into a messy bun. Judging by her sweatpants and glasses, I had pulled her away right as she was getting ready for bed. Cali was not the type to leave the house with her glasses on and no makeup.
Shaking the bottle of pink wine at me, she giggles, “Are we drinking in here or what?” Her amusement with her half attempt to make me smile calms me down enough to look at her and attempt a smirk. “I guess we should go inside. We are going to need more wine than that fruity stuff you drink.” We both climb out of the truck and Cali meets me, wrapping one arm around my waist to lead me into my house.
We walk straight into the kitchen and Cali jumps up on the counter to sit while I open her bottle of blush wine and my malbec. I pour our glasses too full to be classy, but it is not the night formalities. Cali grins at her huge portion and takes her glass into both of her hands, “Elena must have done a number on you tonight. Want to talk about it or just watch a chick flick?”
I smile, “She just thinks I need to be over Randy already. I don’t get it. She’s my mom. She should be making me comfort food and stroking my hair while I cry for years to come if that’s what it takes, not criticizing me for missing the love of my life. You know she even tried to convince me that Walker was cute! Can you freaking believe her?” I take a huge gulp of wine and choke a little from trying to swallow it so fast. I cannot wait to numb this night away.
“Yuck! Walker is a womanizing jerk that probably has ten STDs by now.” Her nose wrinkled and I can almost see her face turning green while she thinks about how many women Walker had actual hooked up with since we have known him. She was completely right about him sleeping around. Walker had charm about him that could make any woman swoon and no standards to speak of; together it was the perfect combination for man whore at our school.
“Thank God we were immune from Walker’s flirtations over the years. We would have beaten him up by now.” I chuckle and motion for the living room, making sure to grab both bottles of wine and set them onto the coffee table. I acquire a couple of blankets out of the linen closet and curl up on the couch with Cali. It was so nice that she was home. For every break up, every horrible fight, even bad test scores, we always did this, no matter what. It’s so comforting to know she’s in my corner, not judging me at all.
Topping off our glasses, I have to find a way to distract myself, “So tell me about this business trip? Finally find a replacement for Richard?” She shoves me playfully, “You know I love him! He’s better than you think! And work is shitty like always. Just full of boring meetings about new lines we want to sell next year and lonely nights in the hotel.” Cali is the chief sales agent for an importer that never can make enough money. Needless to say, her boss works her to the bone. I have always told her that she could make more money with fewer headaches at another firm, but Cali is loyal, sometimes too loyal, and it’s one of her best qualities. “My stuff is boring. What happened while I was away? Anything exciting?” Her cheeks are already starting to turn a cute pink; Cali has always been a light weight.
I smile and pinch her cheek, teasing her. “Nothing was really exciting. Work and moping, you know how I’ve been lately. Walker kept me company for the most part.”
Cali rolled her eyes at me, “Like mother like freaking daughter! No wonder your mom said something! She does for freaking grocery shopping for crying out loud. She doesn’t do that for her health you know, she does it to stalk you!”
“Oh I know but I didn’t think that she was watching closely enough to make assumptions about my love life. I mean she told me to move on because she wants grandkids eventually! It’s all just so messed up, I told her to leave me alone for a while.”
“That’s a low blow. I would have socked her one if I had been there.” Cali is flipping through the channels, trying to find something to distract us so I don’t start crying again. “Awe, Pretty Women! Yes?” I nod and cuddle under my blanket more, resting my head on her shoulder. “Cali, we’re both too pale. I think it’s a Coconuts kind of Saturday.” I smile as she turns to me with the biggest blue eyes filled with excitement. We used to go to the beach almost every weekend if weather would allow. It was our girl time that we have both missed since I went into my dark time.
Excitedly, Cali grabbed her cell off of the coffee table and looked up our ten day forecast. “Saturday is going to be prefect for tanning and boat drinks! The UV index is eight and it’s supposed to be a little breezy. I’m so excited!” We settle back into our spots on the couch and get wrapped into our movie. It are the nights like this that I love so much.
We must have dosed off for an hour or so and l wakeup to Julia Robertson the Piano. I shake Cali awake; she rubs her eyes and smiles. “I missed nights like this. I’m glad you are starting to come back to me!” She wraps me in a huge making me feel all he warmth in the embrace. I truly am so lucky that I have such amazing people in my life. “You know what we need? Ice cream!” Cali, then, jumps off the couch excited with her epiphany. She trots into the kitchen and trots back to me with a tub of mint chocolate chip. I can’t help but smile and pour the remainder of the bottles of wine into our glasses. She grins, “Now we’re doing this right.”
We giggle for a while and I look at the time, it’s already three in the morning. “I think it is time to call it a night. We both have to work in the morning and I have my first therapy appointment in the afternoon. I don’t want to fall asleep on my shrink’s couch the first session; doing so might not make the best of impressions. You want to crash here?” Cali leans over seeing the ten missed calls from her husband and sighs, “Yeah, I can’t drive right now. Man, he’s going to be pissed.”
Cali gets up and heads for the kitchen to call Rich back. I can hear her yelling at him to grow up and remember that her best friend is going throw a hard time and if she doesn’t answer the first time to just leave it alone. She hangs up in a huff of anger and climbs back onto the couch, snuggling up in her blank. I get up and go to get her a pillow. By the time that I get back Cali is already snoring. Even her snoring is adorable. I climb the stairs to my room, smiling, silently thanking Cali for never giving up on me and making me feel completely normal for a change.