The Last in the Series of Missives

Dear Australia,

It is done.

I can’t describe my feelings, not properly, not with any sort of justice or eloquence.

I miss her. The ache stabs. It burns. It wrings and gouges and shreds. The void has too much power.

My mind flashes memories of our walking the city streets, her dodging cafe umbrellas while I walk under them with plenty of clearance. Our standing at intersections, watching her eyes, intent as sentinels, on the traffic, so I, too, would know when to cross.

My mind reaches back to our first meeting, in November 2004, where she stood somewhat aloof while an old friend and I caught up. We explored Midtown that day in the pouring rain.

One time I called her while babysitting for a family in my ward, close to five years ago. We talked of fast friendship, and maybe Star Trek. We laughed.

Movies, music, massages, mail returns. City strolls and subway stunts and Serendipity and award-winning cinema. Rats and road trips, and simply rejoicing in each other’s company.

Tears and turmoil. Laughter, love.

I was there when she began falling in love. I knew it would run its course, and I know the course has not yet ended. It has only begun.


She’s married, five days now, going on forever.

In Australia.

You, Barry: I blame you.

I want her back. I need her back. I need her smiling eyes and steady presence and her gentle voice to reassure me. I need to exchange knowing smirks, as I look up and she looks down, of our juxtaposed heights and the seeming paradox of the not-so-well-kept secret that we are, undoubtedly, the very, very best of friends.

That’s why she let me win at miniature golf. That’s why I don’t make fun of her anymore for mistaking Bono for Bon Jovi. That’s why the individual time we spent together back in September and October, before I up and left, I treasure beyond anything in this world. That’s why the chasm in my chest pushes so relentlessly against the rest of my heart. I just can’t stand being away. And now, so very far away.

She looked incredible in white, though. She looked completely happy with her groom.

And the groom? I trust him. He’s good and kind and funny and totally committed to giving Becky the very best life he can.

I fully support that.

Maybe I’ll just let my mind continue to reach, to fathom the past five years and the culminating events that bring us to now and into eternity.

We’ll share her instead.

Okay.

With my deepest gratitude,
May

Second Missive

So, Barry.

We had kind of a smackdown, my friend and I. I pushed her, she fell down, I dogpiled her, she laughed while I pinned her to the ground. She just kept laughing, which added just enough salt to a sweet victory to make it even sweeter.

At least that’s how it played out in my head.

We have these moments. We walked to the the post office. It was around 10PM one day last week. We talked like we always talk. It was nice, a familiar walk with a familiar friend. She mentioned how her boyfriend wanted to talk to me, somehow gain a best friend’s approval for their getting married.

We’ve cried together. I’ve cried a lot. This isn’t even about me.

I did get to talk with her boyfriend on the phone, last Friday. She put him on speaker, and I got nervous, and I said as much, and then I couldn’t engage in small talk, and then I sort of shut down. Barry, I must say, your accent is very cute.

I don’t know. I usually don’t have trouble having conversations, but I felt pressure of some sort, expectations.

It’s fine, Barry. I still like you, and I still really want to visit you. I also like him, the boyfriend. He’s great: intelligent, funny, righteous, treats my friend like a queen. Again, I must thank you for helping make my friend so happy. I really only want to see her happy.

Maybe I’m just really going to miss her, and I’m having trouble dealing with it. I don’t know what to do.

I only want to be supportive and encouraging. I want to be positive and forthcoming and honest.

I hope I have been.

May

An Open Letter for Friendship

Dear Australia,

It’s raining right now, 2:15 EDT. I’m sitting in the bedroom of my NYC apartment. The window is open, the fan is blowing, the lights are off. The air actually feels cool and pleasant. I wonder often what the world like is on the other side, south of the equator, opposite hemisphere. Did you know water drains, toilets flush the other way here? Does that fact fascinate only me? It’s a very nifty fact of which you should be extremely proud, because I associate it with you. I like nifty facts.

I’m sorry to say I don’t know you very well. Sure, I know of your Ayers Rock and Aborigines and the Opera House and your incredible Great Barrier Reef and digeridoos and vegemite and great white sharks and famous surfing; the Crocodile Hunter and the Dundee bloke and Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban and I don’t think Mel Gibson counts; and your Outback Steakhouse. And, of course, your distinct accent. I wish I could hear that accent more often. I sound very American, but I want to be able to hear Australian in my mind whenever I speak. That would rule. Anyway, all these things I listed, while phenomenal (even Crocodile Dundee, but maybe not so much vegemite), barely scratch the surface of the true you.

I do want to thank you, though. The reason I’m grateful is part of the huge appeal of getting to know you better. I want even more to visit you, because you seem to have produced a gentleman who seems genuinely, deeply, passionately interested in one of my very, very best friends, so interested that he is flying across the world, north of the equator, his opposite hemisphere, “Up Over,” at this very moment, to meet my friend. The whole thing started out bravely, yet unassumingly enough, with a single email. Then, it became something bigger. And we’re all giddy about it. Americans get giddy, you know.

Dear island-continent, what do you prefer to be called? Straight-up Australia? Oz? Down Under? I think I’m going to call you Barry. The gentleman’s profession is a barrister, so it’s fitting. Is that okay? You can call me May. Sometimes my close friends call me May-May, so you should wait until that feels comfortable for both of us. Oh, Barry, I’ve never seen anything like this in my friend. She has this look in her face all the time. She tells stories of the gentleman: what he writes or says or grandly gestures, and her already striking eyes twinkle or sparkle or … something. Light dances around in those eyes, and the source of illumination is NOT external.

So, Barry, this is a plea for friendship. It would be so wonderful to get to know you better! And I just want to thank you for sending over a good man who’s serious about earning my friend’s heart; a man whose @$! I won’t kick because he’ll not likely break her heart. Did you see that, Barry, with the censoring? Other guys, boys, @%$! have mistreated my friend in the past, and they have ticked me off, and the very thought of that happening again causes me to compromise my status at BYU by swearing. I frighten myself when I get overly like this, Barry, but I’m not scared to express ill will toward jerks. You’re not a jerk, Barry; I have no hard feelings toward you.

He sent her a rose this morning, you know.

I’ve seen my friend literally swoon. She has collapsed in a puddly heap of her own melty swooniness, which I believe has the consistency of fine chocolate. I had no idea swooning was something people actually did. Now I know.

A lot of hypotheticals are floating around, especially The Hypothetical, because, honestly, these two are in love. And that’s exciting, for certain. Then, Barry, what if  I get to visit you? I mean, this is why I’m writing you – we should establish our friendship first, right? I don’t want to startle you in any way.

Anyway, I’ve gone on way too long. I hope this meeting between your gentleman and my friend goes well. Astoundingly, infinitely; hand-clappingly and jump-up-and-downingly. Barry, above everything else I’ve said, I just want to thank you for helping make my friend so happy.

I hope to see you soon. And, in these circumstances, never too soon.

Sincerely,
May

Happy 11110th (1Eth) Birthday, Becky!

 Becky New Year!

 

Today is Becky’s birthday. You know Becky. If you don’t think you know Becky, you’re wrong. Who doesn’t know Becky? And who doesn’t think she’s a phenomenal human being? Her network of friends is strong here in New York City, and it extends into the rest of our country, and even across the pond. And the world. She’s that awesome. Even more, if that’s possible. Here are just a few birthday testimonials and wishes from friends and family:  
 
 
 
 
 
 
       
Becky, what can I say to my best friend that I haven’t already told you or that you couldn’t easily figure out with the quickest of sideways glances or the slightest shift in body language? Thank you for inducting me early on into Members Only? Thank you for being my wingman? Thank you for being my synchronized popcorn-eating partner? Thank you for playing Guitar Hero “like that”? Thank you for taking a long time to recognize Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry” on the radio? Thank you for having awesome Captain Caveman club calves and walking fast and making me lengthen my stride?  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sure, I’ll start with Thank You.  
You are the bombshell that turns the others into shrapnel.  You’ve got it all. Still, your covetable height and awesomely curly hair and even your immense intelligence shrink in comparison to what profound goodness your heart holds. You inspire me. You’re always striving, working tirelessly to be a better person in every way. My time in New York City has been the funnest and richest of my life because that has also been the time you put into our friendship. Thank you for encouraging me, cheering me up, putting up with me at times, discussing deep things with me, cutting through traffic, blazing trails, reminding me of who I am. Thank you for being there. Thank you for being born.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Love, may  
       
Becky! You are hilarious and beautiful, a great combo. Have a wonderful birthday! You rock~ Michelle  
 
   
Happy Birthday Becky!  I always enjoyed eating cake batter, quoting P & P and learning french with you.  Hope this year is the best yet! Michelle  
 
   
Becky,  
Happy happy birthday!  You’re still looking smokin’ hot at 30!  
Holly Bluemlein =)  
   
       
Hey Becks! What would I do without your snarkiness. You have always been a reliable friend and you never cease to surprise me. Thanks also for checking in on my life often. I’m glad I’ve been able to know you. Heart, Brooke m.  
 
 
 
   
A Birthday Poem for Becky:  
There once was a girl named Becky.  
She admittedly was a bit of a Trekkie.  
Her birthday’s today, according to May.  
And now let us party o hecky. ’hecky’, is how you say ‘heck yea’ in Utahan.  Just wanted to bring you back to your roots.  
Happy Birthday Becky.-Logan  
   
I first met Becky when I was called to be a temple worker on the Saturday afternoon/evening shift. She was the official trainer for the shift & with good reason. She knew her stuff & made me feel comfortable with all the things I knew I would have to learn. Her dedication to working every Saturday night was a great example to me. I appreciate her friendship, sense of humor & good nature. Happy Birthday Becky! I hope this year brings many delightful surprises, perfect moments & happy beginnings! Hugs & long-distance love, Julie Ingermanson  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
Happy Birthday Becky!!!  You are one of the most amazing women I’ve had the pleasure to know.  I hope your birthday is filled with fun, friends, and cake!!!  I love you!  
 
 
Amanda V  
       
Becky,  
I love you to a million little pieces!  I think you are wonderful.  I hope you have a great Birthday.  I am so glad that this will be the second anniversary of you turning 29 😉  
 
 
Love,  
Gaby  
       
Becky! Happy happy birthday! I hope you have a smashing 30th year.  
Love,  
Brook  
   
       
yo, becky boombastic,  
hope your birthday’s fantastic,  
don’t want no snobby looks from the ladies with their faces made of plastic.  
or the dudes tryn’ to freak you, but their moves are just spastic.  
drastic.   
tryn’ to keep up with a bombshell like you who just has it.  
50 foot woman in stilettos on the red carpet.  
start it.  
if one goes too far, and you ask it, he’ll get his ask kicked.  
on your b-day, you gotta get the most of each and every clock tick.  
rock it.  
you’re the hero on guitar, hot as heidi klumkastic.  
don’t mask it. bask in it.  
make your dreams a reality, fast track it.  
cause someday we will all end up in a casket,  
we need you in our lives like a picnic needs a basket.  
without you we’d be crying like an engine blows a gasket.  
this birthday rhyme is for your face, to put a smile on it.  
even more than when you open may’s homemade birthday bonnet.  
but you’ll wear it,  
cause you’re cool like that.  
even if its only by yourself with the lights out in your fancy flat.  
is that amy in your mirror singing “beat it” back?  
treat it. cause everyone knows you’re unbeatable.  
it’s repeatable.  
becky boombastic.  
       
Ty, AKA “T-Fresh”  
   
Becky,  
Happiest Birthday to you.  You are definitely on my list of the smartest people I know and I’ve always admired they way you can run the show without breaking a sweat.  You’re kind but not without a great sense of irony and I always have a great time whenever you’re around.  I hope you have a wonderful 30th birthday and please know I always think of you when I see a lobster… and that you’re awesome.  
 
 
 
 
 
       
Happy Birthday!  
Hillary  
       
Becky- There are a few things about you that stand out to me.  They range from the things that make you amazing to the things that make you oh so very lovable.  You served a mission and the way you talk about it today shows that you really loved it.  You give of yourself freely.  And no I’m talking about making out with boys-oh no.  I’m talking about how service oriented you are in giving of your time and talents.  You are such an example to me.  These are things that make you amazing.  Then we have the things that make you oh so very lovable.  Like when you play guitar hero and before you know it Becky’s on the floor rockin’ out like a true rockstar!!  Oh those moves you’ve got… And the way you laugh and giggle with your adorable dimples.  You are so gorgeous.  Oh, and then the way you flirt – your flirty face is AMAZING!!!  I wish I could do it half as well as you do, you’re a natural.  And next there are your perky boo….wait a second…is your family going to be reading this??  Just in case I’ll leave it at that.  I love you girl and appreciate your friendship.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Love,  
Eleece  
   
Happy Birthday Becky!!!   
You’re thirty now!  Yay!  You’re old!  It’s time to get annoyed with youngsters.  You should frequently tell them to get out of your yard.  
 
I’ve never met you, but I think we’ve chatted online a few times.  You’re totally my favorite May-roommate.  It always seemed like you guys had so much fun together.  It made me want to be your roommate too.  
 
 
Also, you’re a rocket scientist.  I won’t hold the Fox News thing against you.  I’ll just say that there’s a pretty darn high chance that you’re the smartest person in that building.   
 
 
I also think it’s totally cool that you got an MBA.  Especially since just that same day that I found out where you went to school, I learned who Bernard Baruch was.  So it was quite a coincidence.  
 
 
As someone who has been thirty for a few years, I can tell you that your video-making ability and dancing ability should serve you well now that you’re old.  
 
 
I hope you have the happiest of happy birthdays!!!  
Karissa  
   
Beek,  
Happy Birthday! You have been waiting for 30 (and telling people you are 30) for long enough.  Now it is really here.  You are officially legit and all grown up.  Congratulations.  I hope you have a wonderful day and eat lots of yummy food.  If I was there I don´t know if I would take you out for sushi or arepas.  Either way I wish I was there but will see you soon.  Thank you for being such a great friend.  You have been such a strong positive influence in my life and I am so happy to be a part of yours.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Love,  
Pleasy  
       
Dear Becky,  
I learn more and more exciting things about you, illustrious woman, everyday; most recently, something to do with a Cabana Boy.  Oh, to be the lusty, luscious, luminescent Becky Middleton……    
 
 
Celebrate 30, Baby – you’re coming into your PRIME!!!!! 🙂  
Love ya, Lady-  
Marin  
   
Becky, [imagine in purple font]  
We got to know each other in the back seat of a small car; a relationship that starts with such intimacy has got to be eternal. I just keep wondering if I passed your test…  
 
 
Although ours was just a one-night stand, I will always remember our time together with the deepest of emotions (Never mind that I’m rather shallow). Now, if you’d ever answer my calls…  
All my love and devotion,  
Lynn  
       
Becky,  
So maybe your Lingo’s video is what truly introduced me to Becky Middleton.  Your witty sense of humor in your film was really quite inspiring.  I hope you have a great birthday and know that many people admire you…some admire from distances that land us accross the park…but we still admire!  
 
 
 
 
Happy Birthday,  
Adrienne Martin  
       
My Dearest Becky…  
How do I put into words my feelings about your “special” day?? I hope that you have an AWESOME day… I hope you have a FANTASTIC dinner… And I hope you have a great year, full of lawyers from Australia, and visitors from Salt Lake City… And may you teach many many people the fun and excitement one can get from Hexadecimal… I hope you go on many midnight runs and occasionally slap the butt of a man making out… I hope you find your true Edgard … You are a great roommate and a better friend… And may you always remember that Peace is a Parabola!  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!  
Deena 🙂  
   
Becky,  
All I need to say is Thursday nights with The Office and Gray’s Anatomy.  
We had so much fun.  I wish you more fun nights to come and hopefully I can be there for some of them.  
 
Miss you,  Martha (in 2 years PhD in Mathematics, Lattice Theory)  
       
Ahhhhh…. Becky. I remember when she first moved to the Manhattan 3rd Ward. I remember her regal look, her long legs her….. bitingly funny sense of humor! Becky is a 100% quality person with an amazing ability to find humor in some of the most unexpected places. She’s amazing! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BECKY!!!  
 
 
 
 
Love,  
Kristina Harris  
       
Happiest of happy birthdays to one of the loveliest ladies I know! I have so appreciated your friendship and support over the years, and I want you to know how proud I am to know you. Turning 30 is an exciting point in one’s life- you have already achieved so much, and it is thrilling to think of all the great things that await you in the future! I hope this is the beginning of your happiest year yet!  
 
 
 
 
 
Lots of hugs,  
Keely  
   
Happy, Happy Birthday, Becky! I love your smile. It lights up a room. And you have a gift for making people feel important; I always feel important when I’m around you, and that has meant a lot to me. You are one of a kind. I hope your b-day is something special. Because you are.  
 
 
 
Love,  
Wendy Christian Dunn  
       
Happy Birthday Beautiful Becky!!!  I’m so honored to have known you for part of your amazing life.  Here’s to more wonderful times together enjoying the world.  
 
 
Love, Betsy  
       
Becky,  
To me you are like a song. At first listen, I like the song. It’s catchy, but the more I listen to it, I realize how much my appreciation is superficial. The song is so much more than I first thought. Instruments weave in and out with complex chords and progressions. A voice is heard, strong and beautiful. The words are enchanting. Entrancing. Each part is crucial to the brilliance of the piece, but without spending time digging deeper into the song you’ll miss the best parts.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
The music you make – YOU – awe me. I’ve watched you over the past two years, digging deeper into your character and personality and quarks. And the more I’ve gotten to know you, the more I’ve seen an amazing woman. There have been late night talks and good food and laughter and music and dancing and maybe even a few tears. It’s all just made me love you more. And I have a feeling that I’ve only scratched the surface of your greatness. Thanks for the example. Thanks for the friendship. Here’s to the next two plus years of exploring the music of you.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Je t’aime-  
Alicia  
       
becky,  
you are indispensable.  
a  
   
Happy b-day Beeks! Wish I could be there….maybe take you to dinner and try to see a play or a movie. Or lets just take a rain check. Hope you party it out and rub the two years at Jenny, (for six days at least, lol). Well have a good one….  
 
 
 
crys  
       
Happy Birthday Beek! I love ya! You’re a great example to me. Thanks for coming to Utah to hang out and meet your new nephew. Henry says, ahhhhhh. aka. Happy 30th Birthday.
Drew says, Happy Birthday, Have fun.
 
 
 
 
       
What can I say about my sister Becky? She is a very hard worker! She is also very understanding and supportive. She is always there for me. Thanks Becky. You are an amazing sister! I love you! Happy Birthday!  
 
 
Love, Steven  
       
Beek I love you, Happy Birthday, Em.  
       
Happy Birthday to my youthful, independent, beautiful sister! Welcome to my decade! I am certain that you will approach your 30s with the same gratitude, enthusiasm, and determination as you did your 20s. I shall try to learn from you. I love you!  
 
 
 
Cath  
       
Beach  
       
Happy Birthday Aunt Becky! Thanks for teaching me lots of new things about technology. I hope you have a fun birthday. You are awesome!  
 
Ty  
   
Happy Birthday to my favorite sister-in-law living in Manhattan. Hope you have a wonderful day!!!!!!!!!  
 
Love, Brant  
       
Becky, like Anne of Green Gables likes to say, we are kindred spirits!  You are one of my dearest friends, and I’m so grateful that we are also sisters.  For your birthday, I wish you all the joy and happiness that life has to offer!  Have a fantastic day, and may the coming year bring you all that your heart desires! Kimberly  
 
 
 
 
       
Way to go, Becky: you match the atomic number of zinc, and you’re now old enough to be a US senator.  Thanks for being such a wonderful sister and aunt.  Happy Birthday!  We love you!  
 
 
       

[Untitled]

Just because I haven’t been writing doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking. And boy, has there ever been time to think. And there has been time to come up with ways to keep from thinking too much. What’s the name of my blog? Right, “A Little Thinking.” And maybe I’ve been writing too much, if you can call it writing.

I’ve been kind of cheating, jotting down thoughts here and there, scrawling out drafts of pieces, pieces of drafts, even letting people read them. By “people,” I mean friends and fellow writers. But mostly friends. What’s up with that, letting people see the product, far from finished? It didn’t used to be that way.

Maybe all of that is the essence of the break. I just don’t feel like polishing and tightening drafts right now. Ever since Mrs. Faircloth returned assignments with “Revise, please” written on them, that triggered something in me never to publish, post, discuss anything with anyone until the drafts are final.

And so sits at least eight posts on their respective back burners. How big is my stove, you ask? Even I don’t know that. But maybe I’ve been insecure and self-conscious, and maybe a little prideful. So now, sometimes, I can share what’s a little (or a lot) rough around the edges. Whatever pushes me to strive for honesty in my writing says it’s okay to do this.

I really appreciated last week’s guest posts. My friends give great insight about their approaches to life. And to writing. Which is about life. One could find definite commonalities in each of the entries; the differences are obvious. For me, they cause me to reflect upon relationships: with other people and my dynamics with them; with things/ideas/sports that I don’t like and reconciling with them; with words and my obsession to get them right and to do my bidding when in fact it is I who ends up submitting to them.

Good reminders, all.

The DVR (Super Maynard) at Becky’s is still broken, even though she now has a free month of HBO and Showtime for the inconvenience. Andrea still probably really hates all other sports but super-hearts trapezing, and the utter delight on her face proves that. And Alicia’s woman, with the tiara, she’s just not ready yet.

At some point, we all have to wait.

The process is seldom easy, and not always pretty.

***

Anyway, I’m well aware of what’s going on in the world. My good friend Brian, his twitter feed keeps me current.

Peace is a Parabola

by Becky, Guest Blogger

An evening at home with May, Alicia, and Deena:

When I got home tonight May was still high off of yesterday’s energy drink.

So I explained to everyone how binary and hexadecimal numbers work. Though, of course, May already had a sound understanding. 

It was Time Warner Cable’s fault that the subject came up; I had to call them tonight when Super Maynard (Deena’s DVR) decided to stop working.  I explained to Ronald that our cable box had been doing funky things and he asked me what kind of funky things.  I told him that it suddenly shut off and started counting down backwards from 500 in hexadecimal.  For whatever reason, Deena found that quite hilarious and laughed during the rest of my conversation.  Ronald complimented her on her laugh.

Without the ability to watch Chess on DVR, we listened to music on my computer.

I like it when May points out key changes in songs.  I laugh every time.  And I mean laugh.  And I mean every time.

Deena got up, after some encouragement, and agreed to play the game where I choose a song and she has to interpret it through dance.  Alicia accurately observed that Deena is not just a back-up dancer.

When that got old, Deena played ringtones on her phone for us.  What’s more fun than that?  They were mostly snippets from movies that she would make us guess and then glare at us when we couldn’t.

Alicia finally left to go do something “productive”.  May followed, as it was quite late for a week night.  Deena made parallelograms with her fingers as they were leaving and called them parabolas.  I missed May when she was away last week.

The cable box is counting down backwards again, in hexadecimal.