Jillie and I pile into her beat up turquoise Honda Civic, circa, 1979, and we are off to meet with her second neurologist to review the results of her latest MRI and extensive blood work. She is nervous, I can tell. Something went wrong this morning, before I arrived to pick her up at 11. For one, she reeks of whiskey, looks exhausted, and she asked me to drive.
As I wrench the ancient car into second gear, grinding and squeaking gears, I contemplate, what life must be like for Jillie.
She grew up the second youngest, and from the outside, to what looked like a rock solid family. But she was never rock-solid from what I have seen and what she has dared to share with me. She has me on the say it like it is front, that’s for sure, but I can’t stop thinking that something went terribly wrong in her childhood. She is zipped up so tight, and only talks in the present, so I feel like I’m missing out on a huge chunk of her life, even though we have been best friends since 2001.
“How was your night,” I asked cautiously, quickly looking to my right over at her. She looks like hell, for one. Her shoulder length bobbed dirty blonde hair is mussed up, and I can see that she just slapped on foundation a shade darker than necessary. She has her Jackie-O glasses covering her blue, blue eyes. I reach over and rub some of her mismatched color into her chin.
She waves my hand away, and pulls down the visor, which has a make-shift mirror clipped to it, with a bunch of receipts shoved behind it.
“I look like hell, don’t I? I had a helluva night. What I remember of it,” she replied as she licked her fingers and blended in her foundation.
“What do you mean, what you remember of it?” I asked, concerned.
She rolls down the passenger window an inch, pulls out a cigarette and snaps her Zippo on fire, breathing in her Marlboro Light deeply. I roll down my window.
“Well, you know how it goes, I had a couple of vodka tonics, and the next thing I know, I’m waking up next to a mole-marked Nazi.”
“You’re kidding right,” I asked, a sinking feeling settling in my stomach.
“Of course, I am, silly!” she slaps me on the arm gently.
“So who is this new doc, what’s his scoop?” I asked ignoring everything my body is telling me.
so be it.