When I first met Rachel I certainly didn't think that we would share a bottle of Port in my living room almost ten years later. But that is only because I didn't meet her myself. She ran through the pre-packaged group introductions when she visited our house for dinner my freshman year, but I didn't give it a second thought. Two days later I didn't even remember her name. She was simply "that tall, blond, green-eyed beauty that Isaiah brought to dinner that night" (as we girls territorially described her). Fortunately, our unique household brand of nerdiness was not off-putting to her and she kept coming around. When I was a Junior living off campus she became our honorary roommate so that we could come to our weekly house dinners where there were no boys, guests and no exceptions allowed, except for Rachel who joined us nearly every week. After we graduated she took a job on the other side of the country in Baltimore, and a year later I flew off to my adventure in Germany, but we stayed in tough via a letter that cycled from Baltimore to Germany to the third leg of our triangle in Seattle, Mari. When the envelope arrived we would each add our own letter to the package and send it along ala The Sisterhood Of The Traveling pants, but we didn't think of it like that.
By the time I eventually landed on the East Coast Rachel had moved on to graduate school and I had missed her by just that much. Since I'd recovered from my homesickness and gotten out of practice we stopped writing altogether, and didn't talk again until last fall when Rachel emailed to say that she would be in DC for a conference. Feeling proud of my grown-up life and eager to show it off I told her she had to stay with me (forgetting in my enthusiasm about being a good hostess that I only have a 1 bedroom apartment) and so in February after a flurry of texts clarifying my address as 11 1/2 which is between 11 and 15, she arrived for the weekend. I showed her my tiny town, my frozen back yard, the crepe store, the concert venue where I work and then we went home and talked and talked. Then, once we'd passed through the usual, "how is life/school/your romantic life?" questions we chatted about music. It's a common, and to me, thoroughly enjoyable game of "have you heard?" This is a rare game for me to play comfortably because my musical upbringing was primarily classical so I am still learning the words to common classics from the likes of Led Zeppelin and The Kinks and when you're in my line of work your expected to just know these things. Youtube and google have become very good friends of mine. But Rachel was wonderful to talk music with, and in fact, she introduced me to a spectacular song by the wonderful The Head And The Heart, which makes me want to cry when I listen to it on repeat. When I listen to it in single servings I think of home, of the friends who will still be on my mind in ten years, naturally of Rachel.