86: Sister Friends

86: Sister Friends

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls

Sister Friends

It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.

~E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

My chest tightened and my heart ached a little as I tried to become accustomed to the view from my new kitchen window in the Nevada desert. I saw unfamiliar mountains looming in the distance and cacti and shrubs growing in the yard. I couldn’t choke back the tears. I missed the ocean and lush greenery of my former home on the central coast of California. Also, I missed my life there and my friends.

“You’re very lucky to be a freelance writer and able to write from anywhere on the planet,” my husband said when he left for work that morning.

It had taken two weeks to unpack and get settled into our new house. I didn’t feel settled, but my husband did and he was happy with his new job.

I knew my husband was right. Indeed, I, too, had to settle in. After all, I was a writer and most writers lead reclusive lifestyles, but we do need an occasional break to rejuvenate our senses. For me, that entails having lunch with a writer friend or hobnobbing with fellow writers. I’d left those fellow writers behind and even though I was grateful for being able to stay in touch with them by phone, e-mail, and social media, it wasn’t enough. I needed up close and personal to fill the void in my life. An Internet search located a writer’s group that met every Tuesday evening at a local bookstore.

On Tuesday evening, after I signed up for the writer’s group, the bookstore clerk at the front counter directed me to a long rectangular table adjacent to the coffee shop in the back of the store.

My knees shook as I approached the table of ten people with laptops, yellow lined tablets, and pens. “Is this the writer’s group?” I asked.

I relaxed as a smiling face welcomed me, “Sister friend, my name is Mimi. You’ve come to the right place. Have a seat.”

A sandy-haired gentleman pulled out a chair for me, “Hi, I’m Mike. Please join us. We need some new blood in this group.”

Once introductions, genres, and writing information were shared, a fellow author read the first three pages of his new novel.

My stomach churned… I didn’t know these people… I was new. Surely, I couldn’t be truthful. His story needed work… a lot of work. As I pondered what to say, my thoughts were interrupted.

“It’s boring,” Mimi said. “Your story needs dialogue.”

I was stunned by Mimi’s directness, then amazed at the camaraderie between the two writers. No offense was taken. He admitted he needed help in writing dialogue and Mimi offered to help him.

At the end of the evening, Mimi and I lingered over coffee and blueberry scones. Mimi clinked my mug, “Sister friend, we’re meant to be friends.”

In between sipping coffee, nibbling scones, talking, laughing, and swapping stories about our lives, we bonded. We became best friends that very evening.

As we left the bookstore coffee shop, we discovered we were not only going in the same direction, we lived four blocks away from one another.

We have so much in common. In college, Mimi majored in psychology and minored in journalism. I, too, took courses in journalism. Our love for writing began when we were both eight years old. We have empty nests — her four children and my two children are launched into adulthood.

Mimi writes fiction — both short stories and medical thriller novels. I write inspirational non-fiction stories and essays. We’re published authors. We love words. We encourage and support each other’s writing. The letters on our keyboards are worn, because we write for long hours each day, even toiling during the wee hours when our creative juices are overflowing. We each submit our work and anxiously await a reply. We celebrate with a glass of chardonnay whether it’s an acceptance or a rejection.

Sometimes Mimi and I finish each other’s sentences. We look alike. People who don’t know us think we’re sisters. We know each other’s secrets. All but one… Mimi would never disclose her age. I never pried, but I’d come to the conclusion we were the same age.

Recently, Mimi asked me to tag along with her to her favorite eyewear shop to have the frames for her reading glasses repaired. After the eye specialist typed Mimi’s name into the computer, she needed to verify the year of her birth. Mimi hesitated for a moment, then whispered her birth date.

“You’re the same age as me,” I giggled.

“I knew you were sisters, the specialist remarked, “but I didn’t know you were twins.”

“No, just sister friends,” we said in unison.

~Georgia A. Hubley

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