Last week I spent an evening out with three women.  One woman I knew from elementary school but hadn’t really spoken to since high school.  Another woman I met in high school and remained silently in awe of for the four years of our distant acquaintance.  And the third woman is Jodi Pineapple, whom I can’t imagine not being friends with.


It was a different kind of evening for me.  We met at a hookah bar for an open mic poetry night.  Fantastic! I haven’t spent that much time listening to poetry since the last time I took a creative writing class.  I have always been in awe of the way different people connect different words to add insight to everyday events, or everyday insight to extraordinary events.  The rhythm of the words slamming together intermittently held my attention.  A few of the poets displayed what could easily be accepted as talent.  Some of the younger poets read awkwardly from tightly clasped pages.  And a couple of the contributors were so freakishly artistic, so violent with their mental images, I failed to appreciate their efforts and let my mind wander.


I looked at the women sitting around me on the red upholstered sofas.  We either had to perch awkwardly on the edges of them so we could speak or give up and lean away from each other and into the sloping backs of the randomly burned velvet.  We had moved back and forth a few times.  When we arrived we leaned toward each other so we could catch up on the last decade and my former classmates could meet Jodi.  We stayed that way as we harassed the man waiting on us (is he still a waiter in a hookah bar? I’m so new to this!).  We collectively pelted him with questions about the different tobacco flavors.  Finally one of the women told him to just order for us.  When it arrived we each gave it a chance, posed for some photos.  Laughed at each other and took some better photos.  It was fun.  Peaceful and energetic at the same time.  Definitely relaxed.


When the poetry host arrived to see whether anyone from our table wanted to read he interrupted a trial-run faux marriage proposal between my former classmates, pledging their heterosexual souls to each other.  He paused as we exploded with laughter and then continued with his patter.  One of the women had set a goal for herself of reading at an open mic night, but she came knowing that she wouldn’t meet her goal that night.  Neither Jodi nor I had any intention of reading, either.  But our fourth wasn’t dissuaded by our lack of participation.  Despite coming primarily to lend her support, she ended up being the only one brave enough to give it a shot.  She did well, too.


So as I looked around I thought of all of that.  I thought of the twists in life that had brought me back to this place and introduced, or re-introduced, me to these women.  I thought of how much fun the evening had been and how glad I was that I had come out.  I watched them enjoying their evening and the company.  And I thought about how peaceful I felt.  I didn’t feel peaceful because of the tobacco – I had barely tried any – and I didn’t feel peaceful because of the environment.  I felt peaceful because of these three women.


Those women are the kind of people you want as friends.  They are honest, sensitive, and good.  None of them would ever step on me to gain an advantage.  In all the interactions I have had with them, not one has ever left me feeling small.   I don’t mean to say that they are the mousy kind of good – all three of them have vibrant, laughing souls and are quick to fill the room with their vivacious spirits.  I felt safe with them.


It struck me then that I was having a shiny moment, simply because of them.