First Encounters

Last night we had to tell our dear friends that we would not be able to make it to their wedding next weekend. P and I were in denial about the feasibility of getting there while we’re in the process of relocating, working, finding sub-tenants, etc, etc. Apparently we were the only ones. All our neighbors assumed we’d already cancelled, and the bride herself said, “I thought so…”

They were gracious, and understanding, and it still feels like shit.

But our friend gave us a gift as we were parting ways last night. She recalled meeting us when we first moved across the hall from her. The details of the interaction(s) weren’t cemented, but the end result was her reporting to another neighbor, “I think I’m gonna like that Alana. She’s sassy.”

Now that we’re leaving this apartment, it feels as if we’ve always been here. Always exchanging sassy retorts with friends over fences. Always talked about relationship issues. Always had one another’s keys, grieved over lost pets, shared produce, made ice cream, welcomed new children. But our friend’s comment last night reminded me: We left somewhere else in order to move here. The home I had before moving to this one was unique, and magical, and surrounded by amazing people. And the one before that. And the one before that. I remember the beginnings. Stopping to chat with a gardening neighbor. Seeing the same person in the dog park until it became “come over for a beer.” Making dinner plans with a new coworker.

I love thinking back on these first encounters. Even if I can’t remember the exact moment our eyes first locked, I can still recall that initial connection. The trick now is remaining open to even more new first encounters. That’s a challenging feat for a heart that’s grieving.

I’d love for you to indulge me with your memories of our first encounters. Those stories would help fuel our leap into the unknown.

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11 Responses to First Encounters

  1. Amy V says:

    Such a beautiful post, and so true. I know I don’t need to say anything about the first time you and I met, because neither of us will ever forget it. You have been such a blessing to my life, and I am happy for all those unsuspecting Michigan folks who are about to hit the friend jackpot! Xxoo

  2. Matece says:

    It was the flower hand stitched onto your brown corduroys. You were vacuuming the upper mezzanine of Encore Cafe and it was my first day at work. We decided the best thing to do was to have a margarita and it has been pure love and soul-satisfying cackling ever since! Bloomington, DC, California, marriages, broken hearts, children, dogs, long hair, short hair and not in that order. I know that my life is certainly more fun and filled with laughter with you in it. You, of course, will have no trouble making new buddies.

  3. Linda Zimmerman says:

    Oh, merciful heavens. (You know that’s not what I want to say, but this will be seen by others.) I hadn’t even had a personal encounter with you when I fell in love with the crazy-ass woman in DC who somehow always seemed to be the other half of my brain. So as I’ve tried to come to terms with your not being at the other end of 202-580-6566, I have also accepted that you will still be my long distance dear friend, just slightly longer distance. I hope I can comfort all of your DC friends by saying that you have an amazing knack for building all kinds of relationships, including the long-distance kind. So you’ll meet new across-the-fence friends, and increase the circle of those further afield. I join Amy V in saying that I am happy for all those unsuspecting Michigan folks about to hit the friend jackpot. They have no idea how freakin’ lucky they’re going to be, but I do.

    • alanajoyski says:

      Oh, Linda! Look at youuuu….commenting on a blog! I remember the first time I saw you. I was so surprised to learn the color of your hair! I can’t remember what I had pictured, but now you’re so YOU in my mind I can’t imagine any other face. I love that face!

  4. Pia says:

    Easy! I had met P first since he and Aaron had some bromance going over Shakespeare, but my first encountervith you was at Lauren’s and you were wearing this great vintage smocked front summer dress and I thought “I gotta know that lady!”. God, I miss your face.

  5. Liz says:

    I was kinda hoping that *I* was the neighbor working in the garden, but then I remembered that you were tearing the carpeting out of your rental house next-door, and I walked over to see what all the commotion was. Or maybe I’m misremembering. Juggling four (yes, FOUR!) grad classes at JHU along with a F/T job and motherhood and a way-too-big yard have really done a number on my memory. Maybe I *was* working in the garden when we met. I’m pretty sure that’s how I met Alex. But I still remember you tearing out carpeting. I was really impressed that you’d tackle that job all by yourself!

    I’m very sad that you’ll no longer be only an hour away. We don’t see you very often, but we do see you more than once a year. Not so sure that’ll happen now. At any rate, keep in touch!

    • alanajoyski says:

      The first image I have of you, is, indeed, in your garden. Big floppy hat, Shears. I was in awe. But if you remember the carpeting, then that’s what it must have been. We (Matece & I – I was not alone!) tore the carpeting up before moving things from our old apartments. Oh, Henderson house…how I wish I’d been able to put that tile in your bathroom…

  6. Jess says:

    Not sure I’m a close enough friend to qualify for reminiscing, but I believe we had a quite a moment in the White House kitchen, a moment of we-both-have-shaved-heads-and-dated-the-same-guy. 🙂

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