Elizabeth and I have been friends for almost 20 years, give or take about five when we lost touch. I met her in college; she was my first roommate. She already had a year of college and dorm life under her belt by the time I came around, so she was able to warn me of peril. I never listened to her warnings, but I appreciated where she was coming from. Though she did save my bacon after the fact on several occaisions.
My very first weekend at school, I went to a fraternity party with a guy I met at orientation. He was pledging and so, with a wink and a look the other way, we were offered a hand stamp that would let us drink. Since I had my arms firmly crossed in disapproval, they assumed rightly where the could stick their stamp. Needless to say, the evening went from bad to worse. And I demanded he walk me home. He was drunk, but this was downtown Cleveland.
I got back to the dorm and tried to say good-bye at the security desk, but he followed me through. I didn't know enough to insist security keep him from coming upstairs. We rode the elevator up to my floor and the doors opened. I beheld in my eyes the vision of Elizabeth and Joanne waiting for an elevator. I begged silently for help, and boy did they. Joanne mocked him openely while Elizabeth plied here logic to him with surgical precision.
After awhile, we realized that only physical force would get him to leave. So Joanne and Elizabeth jockeyed him out of our room, down the hall and onto the elevator, while I waved feebly to him. I was very relieved. None of us really wanted to think about what might have happened had I not run into them as I did.
Elizabeth and I have had our moments, as all good friends do, but she is one of the wisest, funniest, most faithful friends I could ever ask for. She is a passionate person with tons of talent for writing, observation, and a well-delivered zinger. She's survived more than her share of tragedy and has come through on the other end, battered, but not defeated. I look forward to the next twenty years of our friendship and all the joy, pain, laughter and tears they will bring.
Happy Birthday, Elizabeth; may all your dreams and wishes come true.