She drives over early in the morning. I see her van coming up the hill. I open the side porch door slowly. Slow enough to shush the whine of the old door.
She comes in quietly, wearing sweats and smile. I push the door farther. I'm wearing pjs and a robe and I'm sure my hair is wild with morning. Doesn't matter.
Carrie is my friend.
We pour mugs of tea and tiptoe through the house. My family sleeps upstairs. Hers sleeps back home. We wind a path over Legos and Hot Wheels. We trace the sweet path of this life.
And soon we're outdoors.
On the front porch.
We settle into wicker and sit quiet for a moment. Sipping tea. Watching the still of the river. It's early and our small town hasn't come to life.
"How are you?" she says. And we're off. We talk about our days. Our week. Our boys. We laugh that when she came over earlier in the week she heard my guys call "Hey, Mom" a hundred times. Just like her house. Just like her sons.
We have a close bond.
There's much to share.
Then morning begins to birth over the river. The sky turns a lighter shade of gray. Then it's a painting. It opens up to shades of blue.
And as the day stretches, as morning unfurls, as it opens wide over the river, our hearts open wide, too. We share deep things. Spoken in hushes. Hidden fears. Struggles that become more light because they've now seen the day. We're no longer laughing. We're listening deep. With our ears. With our hearts. With all that we have.
We listen deep because we're friends.
Then from behind us there's noise. The sounds of a household coming to life. It's morning and the boys are tumbling down the stairs and the coffee is probably perking and the pace of the day has already been set.
Our time is over.
Not over, really, but there will be a pause.
A pause for life.
Until the next time it's early, and I stand in the door and watch her van creep up the hill.
And I'll be grateful.
Grateful she's here.
Sweet blessing... I have three stories in the new Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can''t Believe My Dog Did That. Release date was Saturday.