by Lindsay Joy · May 12, 2014
Forgive me readers- it's been too long. This week- I wanted to talk about the way friendships can change over the years.
So- last week I drove Miss Amanda Mantovani (who has since become Mrs. Amanda Vermillion) to her new home in cozy Franklin, Tennessee. As she cooed and calmed her six month old baby boy in the back seat, I had hours and hours to contemplate our friendship as the yellow line blip-blip-blipped past me.
I met Amanda over ten years ago. At the time, we were both acting. We did a crazy collaborative piece at HERE Arts in SoHo...I think about the plot now and my head wants to explode. But for us- at the time- it was a work of genius and we were about to set the downtown theater scene on fire. She was my very first roommate here. We nursed each other through some pretty shitty relationships, shitty jobs, and shitty auditions. It was a comfort to have her there on our ugly as sin futon sofa ready with some goldfish crackers (cheddar- duh) and a rummy drink.
We grew apart. It happens. I can pinpoint the moment. We had a mutual friend. Her name was Nicole Dufresne. She was a pisser, a firecracker, and a super driven playwright. She was one of the first people that told me to put my focus on writing...Nicole thought actors were boring. Nicole was murdered...shot in the Lower East Side one night about ten years ago. Amanda told me over the phone. We cried until our eyes were swollen. We got through the funeral and all of the media coverage hand in hand. But afterwards- it was as though our friendship was just a reminder of Nicole. Amanda moved out and went west. I moved down to Alphabet City and numbed myself on vodka and cute bartenders.
A couple of years back- I see her on someone else’s Facebook feed. Same wry smile. Same kind eyes. We get back in touch- there is no weirdness, no hurt feelings. Our jokes from ten years ago are quickly remembered and our rhythm picks up right where we left it. It’s funny how easily that can happen with some people. But Amanda’s like that...she reads a room and makes sure everyone feels comforted. It’s one of her greatest skills. When she tells me a few months later that she is pregnant, I’m not surprised. It’s the job she was meant to do.
When we were younger, we talked about raising our kids in the city. Running with strollers in Central Park and taking our kids to the MOMA for some artsy-fartsy time. The reality is that I’m unmarried and probably not pumping out munchkins anytime soon...and that New York is a fucking hard place to raise kids. Amanda saw a life with more ease and more time and she took it.
Which brings me back here- to the driver’s seat. I’m sad. I know I won’t see my friend very often. I know our lives are going in two very different courses. Watching her smile at her beautiful baby in the rearview mirror makes me wonder if I fucked it all up...if I, too, should be setting up my nest in a lovely Southern town. I know I won’t...but the doubt sticks a little.
She and I sneak in little conversations as the baby sleeps. It’s nice- the rhythm never falters. She’s still my Amanda. She’s still the goofball I came to love so long ago. I pull up to our first stop and turn off the car- my legs hurt, my back hurts, and my heart hurts just a little bit. I adjust the rearview one last time- and open the door.