Monday / August 15 / 2011
Nails with Neeser: when heroine is good
“Nails w/ Neeser”. That’s what my calendar read for 3:30pm yesterday. A pedicure date with a bestie. Long overdue, much needed time together.
We reclined in the massaging chairs (quick to turn off the “seat” option because, well, it’s just awkward to have things poking at your butt!) — feet in hot, bubbly water, sipping Starbucks. …aaaaahhhhhh
We caught up on each other’s lives, divulging hopes and dreams and worries alike. All the while feeling secure and accepted in each others confidence (never mind swearing our pedicurists to secrecy!)
As I typically do when I meet a new pedicurist who can’t help but stare at my leg, I answered Buddy’s non-verbal question with, “It’s a burn scar”. That’s when the furrowed brow of concern and questions I was expecting began.
Buddy: From what?
Me: Car accident
Buddy: How long ago?
Me: 25 years
Buddy: What caused the burn?
Buddy: Your leg was on fire?
Buddy: Who was driving?
(ugh… I hate this one)
Me: I was
That question brings a knot to my stomach because I want to explain how there were no drugs or alcohol involved, how our field hockey team had just won an important game, that we were just a group of excited teenagers enjoying life together when one decision-gone-wrong impacted all of our lives forever.
I want there to be an understanding of the innocence in the car that day. How elevated the joy was. How much affection we had for one another. That none of us could ever have dreamed how it would all turn out.
Buddy: How long was your leg on fire?
(I don’t think anyone has ever asked me that question)
Me: I’m not really sure. Time sort of stood still.
Buddy: Did the person in the passenger seat help you?
Me: Um… no
Buddy: I’m sorry
Buddy: Did you have to wait for the ambulance to get there to help you?
(and here’s where the conversation turned a corner for me)
Me: No. (gently smiling and touching Neeser’s arm) She pulled me out.
Buddy: She pulled you out of the car?
Me: Yes. She’s my real live heroine
(my drug of choice – though I didn’t speak that cleverness aloud)
Denise saved my life. She didn’t have to put her 16-year-old self at such risk, approaching a burning car to free her trapped friend. But she did. She didn’t even give it a second thought.
But I did. And I do. I think about it all the time. And I’m grateful.
I’d like to say I’m grateful for every moment of life, but it’s cliche’. Plus I’m at an age where I’m willing to admit that my selfishness sometimes kicks in, and I recognize there are times I could be more appreciative (sometimes a lot more appreciative).
My loving friend chuckled, lightening the mood as she reminded me of our time soon after the accident when people kept calling her a “hero” — and I kept correcting them. “It’s ‘HEROINE’, because she’s a girl!” (Not to be confused with the drug, which is spelled ‘heroin’).
Oh, and my friend also looks smashing in sunglasses.