Monday, December 14, 2009

dear best friend,


Alyssa and I met my sophomore year of college during summer theater. Back in those days nobody in the theater department at my college would cast for me for anything and I frequently got pulled into the offices of well-meaning professors telling me to choose another profession. I came across as shy and uncertain, they were looking for "star quality" and were fairly confident I'd never make it as an actor. But that's a blog for some other time.

Alyssa's father was my professor and and the only one who ever believed in me, for which I'm still utterly grateful, and his daughter was dutifully volunteering for ushering or concessions or whatever odd job he'd talked her into. I saw her out the window, this girl, and I sort of fell in love right there on the spot. I don't know any other way to say it, but sometimes when you meet someone you know almost immediately that you want that person in your life for the rest of it and you want to get started as soon as possible, and I saw Alyssa outside that window and I knew her. I can't explain, but when we finally said hi to each other it wasn't a "nice to meet you" greeting, it was a "I know you! I've known you before and I'll know you again and thank god we found each other this time around because we've got twenty-plus years to catch up on!" kind of greeting. Luckily, Alyssa felt the exact same way.

So we became best friends, right there on the spot. And we have remained so ever since; we have never stopped laughing and talking and emailing and phoning and texting and being bluntly honest and having life-changing conversations at 2 am and crying in each other's arms when life sucks and having each others' backs when the shit hits the fan. There aren't too many days that go by where I am not completely and wholly thankful to the universe for bringing us together for yet another life to share.

And right now, my best friend is hurting, and there is not much I can do about it. First and foremost, Alyssa works for one of the most renowned Shakespeare companies in the United States for the pure love of it - finances are tight and she is paid a very small stipend on a weekly basis while working up to 18 hour days through the week and weekend to help get shows off the ground. A lot of the time, Alyssa is going out into schools in Massachusetts and directing kids in Shakespeare productions. It's a huge emotional reward with not a lot of monetary payoff, as theaters are hurting right now financially.

Here's the other thing: Alyssa is in love. With a wonderful, adorable elf-like girl named Liz who might even be able to quote Buffy better than I do, and unfortunately Liz lives in Canada. And all Alyssa wants, as Alyssa's family is spending the holiday in London without her, is to be able to spend Christmas in Canada with the girl she loves.

So she asked her friends who were going to get her Christmas gifts to instead contribute to a "Christmas in Canada" fund so she can afford to buy a plane ticket, and I convinced her to set up a paypal account. And I've been trying desperately to get my friends and family and everyone I've ever met to contribute as well, even if it's just $5, because it might not seem like $5 goes a long way, but when ten people decide to contribute $5, trust me. It goes a long way.

And on top of everything else, I just found out that Alyssa had to put the family dog, Lady, to sleep last week (you can read Alyssa's incredibly heartfelt posts about it here and here). Lady, the family dog of fifteen years, was recently diagnosed with lymph node cancer, and her body had been showing signs of slowing down and functioning less and less.

So here's my letter to my best friend.

dear best friend,

I love you. I hate feeling powerless when I see you hurting, when I see you missing the ones you love and grieving, knowing that there is not much that I can say or do to fix any of it. I'm not always really good at not wanting to fix it and I feel bad that I don't live closer so that I can't come and pick you up and take you out for a bacon cheeseburger and a strong hot chocolate. I wish I could promise that you'll get to see your girl on Christmas Day, or that I know that things are going to be alright, or that I know that one day you'll see Lady again, but we both know I can't promise those things.

What I can tell you, and promise you, is that you are loved, so incredibly fiercely, by your best friend up in LA, and I'm never going to stop trying to show you how much I adore you or trying to help you have the best life possible, because yes, it is what you deserve. You deserve so much happiness after everything you do and give to others. And I am so proud to be your friend, to know you and have your back and know that you adore me and have my back. It means the world to me.

Love,

your best friend Tracy.

UPDATE: See Alyssa's comment below (she's Radical Bradical). Whether you donated money or simply offered your amazing kindness and support of this post, I thank each and every one of you - you helped send my best friend to Canada with your love. It's all about you, guys :) And I am humbled and grateful beyond words to know each of you.

19 comments:

Angie Muresan said...

You must be the coolest best friend ever. And the most loving! I agree that those in love need to be together at Christmas time. Little by little it all adds up. I have something in my paypal account. Don't know how much it is, but I will transfer it.
(By the way, Virgin's got great deals going on.)

Gwen said...

You are the type of friend every girl should have. I wish I had someone in my life that would do this for me if I needed it. Unfortunately it seems in my time of need most of my friends aren't around or run the other way. And the ones that are there for me can only be for a short time. She is so lucky to have you!!! XOXO

The Smoking Redhead said...

Transferring what is in my PayPal account today.

:)

Phoenix said...

Wow, um - THANK YOU, guys! I don't really have words for how kind and unexpected your generosity is... I really don't. So I'm just gonna say thank you again with all my heart.

LENORENEVERMORE said...

She is so blessed to have each other...Isn't it fascinating when some people can instantly know that they could be best of friends during their 1st greetings! SWEET*
Great new week beautiful~
xo*

drollgirl said...

well we all need help sometimes in life, so i'm contributing to her fund!

and she is so lucky to have a best friend like YOU! :)

Dave said...

You should really fall asleep each night with a smile on your face...you rock.

Jenn said...

we should all be so lucky to have friends like you. my goodness! :) just the kindness in your heart in the letter you wrote her is probably more than most people ever get from a friend. you rock!!

Radical Bradacal said...

Hi everyone. A couple of things:

1) I am INCREDIBLY lucky. And I know it.

2) Tracy IS, in fact, the best friend ever. In the history of best friends.

3) Everyone *definitely* should have a besty like Tracy.

4) I am completely stating the obvious.

5) Thank ALL of you for your warm wishes, for your contributions (I was crying this morning!), and most importantly, for reading Tracy's blog.

6) I HAVE PLANE TICKETS TO CANADA!!! :D :D :D

7) You all rock!

8) I'm getting carried away with my lists....

9) Tracy. There are no words. My tongue is in my heart, and my heart is yours.

Barbara said...

You are such a good best friend! I had a best friend much like you for many years so I know how you feel. We supported each other through all sorts of family trials and tribulations. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2001; she got cancer. She fought it for 10 long years. She was so brave! So many things remind me of her (at Christmas she was the biggest Bah Humbug that ever lived!) and keep in close touch with her daughter.

Nahl said...

This is soooo sweet! What you did through this post reignited my faith in genuine relationships.
I hope Alyssa gets to go to Canada and not only that, but has an AMAZING time there! Lot's of love to you both.

Des said...

Another excellent post. We make these really close and important friendships when we're young, and we think that we'll go on the rest of our lives meeting cool people like that. But it just doesn't work that way. The friendships I made when I was young are still the most important friendships I have today. Again, great post.

Kris said...

This post made me feel all warm and fuzzy in side. DEF wish I had a friend, and WAS a friend like you!

Kris said...

I left this comment on my post but in case you miss it...

re: NYC tree

Definitely take lots of pictures. just make sure you move to the sides other wise you'll be taken away by the ever moving crowd! It's like a river of people...:o)

Indigo said...

This is such an incredible, beautiful heartfelt post. When I read Alyssa gets to go to Canada, I had the biggest smile ever.

I've already figured out being a friend of yours was this amazing gift. Reading this just proves it. (Hugs)Indigo

Alyssa, sweetie...I'm so sorry about the news with your dog. Pickles my working dog for the deaf is my heart and I can't imagine what it would be like to lose her. Just know you're in my thoughts. (Hugs)Indigo

Eeeno's World said...

Thanks for making me tear up at work!

Jo said...

I would love to have and be a friend like that as well. You two are incredibly fortunate, and I love that you both know it!
Much love to you!!
And now I'm going to go check out the Radical Bradacal blog!!
xox

krista said...

wow. look what happens when i step away from reading blogs for a bit.
1. you're rad
2. your best friend is rad
3. i'm rad because i know you
the end.

Lori ann said...

I say what Krista said. i'm sorry i'm late here Tracy, but so excited to see your friend going!
I love your posts, I've just been a bad blog friend in general (too much to do these days!)
you are amazing.

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