Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sweet Caroline

I have some friends whose name are also the titles of songs, and for the life of me I can't help but start singing those songs every time I think of them.  So, today I want to tell you about Caroline.

I met Caroline in 9th grade.  She didn't like me very much at first and was even kind of mean to me.  And then, I killed her.  With kindness....yep, thas right.  We bonded over  the fact that both of our parents were neurotic artists and furniture designers, and our mutual love of animals.

Caroline used to think she was Puerto Rican, when in fact she is French and Italian, which is much cooler, in my most humble opinion. In the spirit of her 'rican-ness she taught me to make mean faces and "stop smiling" when she took pictures of me.  I envied her ability to scowl at the camera and still look like a porcelain doll.  

I was always a little bit afraid of Caroline.   She had the biggest boobs that anyone our age had ever seen and when she threatened to beat me up, I was sure they would be her weapon of choice.  She never did beat me up.  I think it was due to the fact that I became a pretty good scowler and I started wearing a lot of black (at her suggestion), and in me, she had created a white Ruerto Rican wanna be monster.

We both moved after 10th grade and I lost touch with her. The years flew by, as years tend to do, and I often wondered about Caroline.  I tried to find her a few times with no success.  I imagined that she was still wearing those giant hoop earrings with her hair pulled back in a painfully tight pony tail and wagging her finger in someones face, saying "oh no you di 'int".

I decided to try to find her once again last summer, and finally, I did.  She gave me her number in an email  and asked me to call her.  I waited for awhile, because, honestly, I was afraid.  It had been a long time.  What if we didn't have anything in common any more?  I slapped myself, partly for being afraid, but mostly just for fun.  And I called Caroline.

The musical voice on the other end of the phone sounded nothing like the girl who I could still hear saying "look more mean, Jill".  This voice was the voice of a very happy woman and it had absolutely no accent, which is something I can relate to after moving so many times.

We spent some time catching up, and as always happens when someone is a truly good friend that I haven't spoken to in a long time, we just picked right up where we had left off.  Except this time, without all that awkwardness of puberty and all the confidence of the women we had grown into.

I was thrilled to find out that Caroline was(is) happily married with two kids and three dogs.  HA,  we still had the animal thing in common.  And...she lived just a few hours from me.  Jeremy and I went to visit Caroline and her family early last fall and I just wish she lived closer.

If it is possible for someone to continually grow more beautiful, Caroline has accomplished that feat.  She is not only one of the most physically beautiful women I know, but she has become the kind of warm person who NEVER stops smiling and makes you feel as if you hung the moon when you are in her presence.  She's probably just trying to make up for all those years she was a bad ass, but somehow it feels very genuine.  

As if being beautiful weren't enough, Caroline has also inherited her Mother's artistic eye and her house could be featured in Domino.  When I visited her, she floated effortlessly around her house in her floor grazing black dress and served us crepes for breakfast.  CREPES, for the love of the blessed sacrament!  

If I could be anyone other than myself (although I do very much enjoy being me) I would be Caroline.  I at least like to live vicariously through her photos.

I wanted to tell you about Caroline today because in a couple of weeks she is going to have her third child.  This time it's going to be a girl.  I remember how those last few weeks of pregnancy are and if she feels anything like I did, she needs a big hug right now.  And since I can't hug her in person, I'll let my words do it for me.  

Hang in there, soon it will all be over...and then the hard part begins!


Krista said...

This is such a sweet post. I don't even know Caroline, and I want to give her a hug. How wonderful that you were able to get back in touch after so many years!

Jillian said...

Awww, thanks. If you did meet Caroline, she would give you a hug.

Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

I remember watching a fresh prince episode with these badass Puerto Rican girls that had a gang called the loco mama's. Shortly after that, I met Caroline at a restaurant and thought she might be in that same gang. She was intimidating in several ways. She looked a little mean but she was very beautiful at the same time. Immediately, we became great friends. She became one of the most kind, caring, and intelligent people that I had ever met. I still think about her all the time and I will never forget her. Congrats on your new baby Caroline!