The day Laurie called me she was in New York.

I was in the garage, mopping up psychedelic puddles of Rocket Pops.  Our ancient freezer had coughed its last icy breath sometime during the night, and the entire summer supply of Little League frozen confections was forced to seek alternate accommodations.  Unfortunately, the Popsicles tried this on their own and met with disaster.

"Gabe has meetings all afternoon," Laurie said, after I recovered from the shock of hearing her voice in the middle of my mess.  "I know it's last minute, but I'd love to drive up to see you."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, very sure.  If it's not too inconvenient."

I warned her about the Popsicle massacre.  "And it'll take you a couple of hours.  Are you sure you want to drive?"

"Yes, I love to drive.  Remember?"

I smiled.  Yes, I remembered.  Laurie had a passion for the open road.  "Are you going to rent a convertible?"

"You know it!  Now don't go to any trouble."

I hung up the phone, rinsed my permanently cherry-scented mop, and frantically began clearing the rest of my humble abode like Tigger on steroids.

When Laurie pulled into the driveway three hours later, she emerged from a black convertible sports car and smoothed her straight blond hair.  Back in college her hair was as brown as mine.

She looked taller than I remembered.  Maybe because I was feeling rather small at the moment, hiding behind the living room curtains, spying on here and wishing I had done all the laundry last night so the dryer wasn't making that thinking noise in the background.

Laurie adjusted the collar on her crisp white sleeveless shirt and pulled off her sunglasses.  For one paralyzing moment, I couldn't imagine what we would talk about.

I opened the front door, and miraculously all time and differences evaporated.  We hugged and started to talk over the top of each other's sentences, as if we were back in our dorm room.  All that was missing were the Oreos and Reese's Pieces.

We talked nonstop.  I only remember one part of the marathon conversation, which was when Darren returned from the park with our three boys.  They looked hot and frazzled and ready to be home.  I couldn't believe the afternoon was gone.  The words that sprang from my mouth were, "But we're not done yet.

Laurie started to cry sniffly little tears.  An untrained ear might think Laurie was simply trying not to sneeze, but I knew she was crying.  Laurie leaked and squeaked.  I slushed and gushed.  We knew this about each other.

"You're right," Laurie said.  "You and I are not done yet, and I have a feeling we never will be."  She blinked quickly and tried to smile for Darren's benefit.

Laurie stayed long enough for pizza.  She promised to call me the next day from her hotel.  We talked for two hours.  I called her the next week.  She called me the week after that.  I called her the next and so on.

"Think of it this way," I told Darren, when I showed him the phone bill a few months after Laurie and I reconnected our coast-to-coast friendship.  "It's cheaper than therapy."

"What do you two talk about?" he asked. 


"Like what?"

I shrugged and listed topics Laurie and I had covered during the past week.  "Varicose veins.  New ways to fix chicken.  The ozone layer.  Coffee prices.  Fabric softener.  You know, life stuff."

"But you don't drink coffee."

I looked at him and thought, How come men don't get this?  It's so basic.

"Laurie and I need to stay connected.  It keeps me sane when I talk to her every week."

"For eighty-seven minutes about chicken recipes and fabric softener?"

"If that’s how long it takes, yes.  Sometimes we talk longer is we discuss our hair or our hormones."