"Drunk?" Joe said. "On two beers?"
"Yes," I said, woozily. It had been a long time since I'd been to a gay bar. Or a bar, for that matter. Two beers plus the lack of a child hanging off of you makes a gal feel light as a feather.
|"Blanca" and "Uncle" Joe at "Hardware"|
We used to get together to scope out eye candy of the male variety, to spend the night out on the town, and to swap stories about romantic adventures.
Our paths have diverged since. I took a right turn at the nuclear family exit.
I doubt spending time with kids is Joe's favorite thing to do. Hardware is more his speed. But he comes over and lets Claire call him Uncle Joe. He listens to my stories about how much she has grown, or our latest trip to the zoo. He helps Claire down the slide at the park, and pretends he's as excited as she is. Again, Hardware is more his speed.
You know you're friends with someone when you can change, and they still love you. Joe is a true friend. We share a connection that is bigger than our circumstances. Our relationship is deeper than our day-to-day commonalities. For all of these things, I am grateful.
I'm glad he hasn't changed either. Every now and then, he reminds me of my life passed. He reminds me of who I used to be. Sometimes, I need a reminder that I am not only a mom and a wife, I am a good friend.
After a few beers, he starts calling me "Blanca" (a long story that would mean nothing to anyone but us). I wonder if I'll ever share the "Blanca" story with Claire. I doubt it. It's an intimacy between Joe and me. Over the years, the story has taken on more significance than the specific event itself.
His nickname for me says, "We have a meaningful history that precedes you, Claire."
It says, "Joe was my friend long before he earned the nickname, Uncle Joe, and long before Blanca became Mama."
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