I’ve heard it said that one good friend is all you need to make it through almost anything. I’m lucky enough to have more compassionate, goofy, and badass people in my life than I can count – but today, I want to tell you about how Julie saved last Tuesday.
Tuesday night of last week, Julie and I both came home, laid down on the couch, and almost wordlessly put on an episode of Community. (Contemporary American Poultry, in case you were curious. Abed becomes the head of a chicken finger mob.) She’d had a long day testing people’s brains at the hospital, and I’d had a long day at work, followed by an hour of elbow twisting at Occupational Therapy. The episode ended, and we sat in silence for a solid two minutes.
“Do you want to watch another one?” Julie asked from underneath her blanket and backpack, which she’d only half taken off.
“Don’t think I can – too much stuff to do,” I said without moving.
“Yeah. Probably same,” Julie also said without moving.
We sat in silence, staring separately off into space, for another two minutes.
I had to go grocery shopping, get at least another hour of work done, and do the mountain of dishes in the sink. (I’d let my roommates do my dishes for weeks, and elbow be damned, I was going to step the hell up.) I was still a little dizzy from OT. The weight of everything that stood between me and my bed suddenly felt heavy on my chest.
“Want me to go to the grocery store?” Julie asked from the other side of the couch. “If you make me a list I’ll get what you need.”
“Yeah,” I said, “yeah, that sounds awesome, actually. I’ll do the dishes if you go to the grocery store.”
“Deal,” Jules said. Another minute or two went by before we actually peeled ourselves off the couch.
I wrote Jules a list, trying not to think about my elbow or work or the fact that my hands were starting to shake. I turned to the sink and started unloading dishes from the drying rack. A sharp pain shot up my arm. My wrist to my shoulder throbbed, seemingly out of nowhere. It never hurts this badly, I thought.
Two plates in, I walked to the living room, sat on the arm of our enormous couch, and burst into tears.
Julie saw me from the kitchen. She threw her purse over her shoulder, walked to where I sat, and wrapped me in a hug.
“It… it hurts,” I sobbed, like a poet.
“I know, buddy,” Jules said. She kissed me on the forehead and then looked me in the face. “I’m going to the grocery store. You go upstairs, do the work you need to do, and don’t you dare do the dishes. Okay?”
“Okay,” I laugh-cried, like a goddess.
“I’m serious. If you do those dishes, I’m going to be pissed.” Then she walked out the door, did my grocery shopping, and came home and did all my dishes.
The thing is, Julie wasn’t feeling her best last Tuesday either. She easily could have watched at least three more episodes of Community and politely excused herself to her bedroom while I imploded in the kitchen. Some might’ve even considered that a smart move.
But she didn’t. She hugged me, cleaned up my big ass mess, and genuinely would have been pissed if I’d washed my own plates.
Whoever you are, whatever your week looks like, I hope you think of your pals and feel like you have a life vest for whatever you’re swimming in. Pals are the key to life. (Also the key to successfully watching Community, high-fiving when one of you is holding up a foot, and somehow having fun while cleaning the bathroom.)