As I've been recuperating, I've made sure to surround myself with my closest friends. Friends cheer you up and send you chocolate (or, like Springrayn, they send you silly T-shirts with sitcom catch-phrases on them and then kitty slippers from another sitcom) and cards and generally remind you that they're still going to love you even though you're grouchy, hopped up on pain meds, and don't move much because all you want to do is sleep. They pick stuff up for you when you can't bend over to get it yourself. They bring you meals.
The big flaw in my slaw has been that my best friend JJ lives six hours away. She's been recovering from surgery too; hers was on her thyroid. It would have been nice if we could've hung out while we were both stuck at home recuperating! Her surgery made it difficult for her to talk for very long, so while we talked several times a week, we tried not to talk for long, since I didn't want to stress her throat. If we'd lived in the same general area, we could have gotten together. I know I could have talked enough for both of us. I've done it before. We read through a series of seven books together, me reading out loud to her. (You might remember that JJ is blind.)
But that brings me around to my other best friends...the ones that live quietly in my home, on my shelves, just waiting for me to pick them back up.
My favorite books.
When I went to the hospital, I tucked three of my favorite books into the bag I was bringing. These were books I'd read many times over (something my dad still doesn't get), and opening them up to read again was like visiting friends among the pages. One of the books was the one my husband refers to as my favorite "feel better" book—the book I pull out when I'm really worried or concerned. He says he always knows I'm feeling scared or just off if I bring that book out. The night before the surgery, I brought up the books in my favorite historical romance series. (Hubby just gave me an indulgent, humoring smile when I explained the piles of books on the bed as wanting my "friends" nearby. At least he understands me.)
I didn't feel like doing much for the first week that I was home from the hospital. I took over Hubby's big oversized, chair-and-a-half in the living room as my recuperation spot. I had my tablet and my phone if I felt the need to email. I had the TV. I had my books.
I had been reading The Guardian in the hospital, and continued rereading it after I got home. Second in Dee Henderson's famed O'Malley Series, it's one of my favorites. The action starts fast and the suspense rarely lets up. Within the first 50 pages, there's a murder (a federal judge), a search for the shooter (who remains at large), and a very angry mob boss.
I turned the page to where the angry mobster makes his first appearance in the story as an actual character, not simply a referenced person.
And I jumped back in time, in my own memories, to sitting in JJ's loft den, taking a sip of Dr Pepper before reading on.
"You killed a federal judge! Just like that...poof! I will kill a federal judge!"I remembered the intensity I injected into the words as I read them aloud. It wasn't often, in the books JJ and I had read together, that there was this kind of invective speech. The mob boss was livid, and it was fun to shout out his lines of dialogue as he railed at the shooter.
In that moment, although I sat alone in the living room, it was almost as if I was sitting with JJ again. I whispered the words aloud in a fiery hiss, and giggled.
Even though we were hundreds of miles apart, my dearest friend had never been closer to my heart than in that moment.