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November 2019
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My Friend Deb

My Friend Deb, originally uploaded by elefanterosado.

We met in massages school. I think I was lying face down on the table when she said something so hilarious that I snorted into the head rest.

We became fast and furious friends despite our 16 year age difference. We took our breaks together and studied together. She favored power bars and that nasty gas station stuff called coffee. Once I took her to a real cafe for a real cup of joe.

“I can’t drink this stuff,” she told me.

We approached the barista at the counter.

“Add about two cups of water, some fake powder creamer and a packet of sugar. And better yet, use instant coffee,” I said.

The barista eyed me as though I were insane.

“Do what she says.” Deb intoned in her sharp Massachusetts accent. “Or we ain’t comin’ back.”

She smokes those long cigarettes right in her car.

“I can’t breathe in here,” I tell her.

“Shut up and roll down the window,” she says.

We talk about politics and the need for health insurance reform. She is bright, articulate, considered.

She just bought her first house. A trailer in a mobile home park. She works hard at her job as a surgical tech. And tries to get to Florida once a year to see her grandchildren.

She’s a regular gal. One of those hard-working Americans President Obama is always talking about.

I hope she’ll be able to retire in a few years. Because she’s 60, and she’s tired. But no matter what, she picks herself up and keeps on going.

My friend Deb.