This is one of my personal favorite drawings of the year, because it was done in the company of my bestest friend on the planet.
We only had a day together, a day that started far inland and needed to make up for all the years we’ve missed in just a few short hours. Thanks to the magic of an old truck and a tank of gas, we accomplished all that and so much more. Time has been hard on both of us, but this is an eternal friendship: it picks up where it left off, regardless of years or miles, never a beat missed.
Thirty years ago, if we weren’t at the beach, we hung around her house. She had a Commodore 64 computer with a 5.25″ floppy drive – some high-tech add-on gizmo that allowed her to save her games when she shut the thing off. (“It’s a peripheral.” “Whatever.”) I sprawled out with markers and paper, drawing unicorns. We always did our own thing, content to simply be around each other, simultaneously tuned to a wavelength that no one else could receive.
Today, both of our pockets bulged with rocks and shells, and my thoughtlessly-chosen jeans were soaked to the knees. We picked our way up the beach, avoiding the rockiest places and collecting all the pretties we could find. Finally we ended up with her sitting on a rock taking pictures with a smartphone. I sat at the base of said rock with a fancy ink brush and some pro-grade watercolors in hand, painting the little stones that littered the beach. Our tools were more sophisticated; the vibe between us, unchanged. If you had asked me the week before for the ultimate hour with her, I wouldn’t have had a different answer. Oh, I could have wished for a few things: for her to be free to dive into the surf the way I know she longed to do. For me to have all the time and money in the world, so we wouldn’t have had to think twice about how we spent the rest of the brief time she was here. Not to be, I’m afraid, but this was still exactly what we needed. We were together: doing our own thing in the same place again at long last, still tuned the wavelength that lets us finish each other’s sentences and laugh at jokes we haven’t entirely made yet (jokes that no one else would understand, even if we could get them out before dissolving in laughter.) Still bellowing along (in different, incorrect keys) with the utter insanity that is Adam Ant’s lyrics. Still, and always, Best Friends.
Now, I’m in front of my own computer, a form of technology that the years have taught me to appreciate. Nearby there’s a pile of sand-worn rocks and a little sketch in my book. For anyone that sees it in the future, it’s five more rocks and some sand. Base drawing in ink, for Inktober’s sake; nondescript to be sure. It shares a quality with all my sketches in that it harbors a memory: in this case, a few precious hours enjoying the closest brush with sisterhood that I will ever know.