This is one of my favorite pictures of Aileen (one of many favorite pictures of her), taken in a kind of makeshift maze at a Renaissance Faire in Pennsylvania some years ago. She’s peeking playfully at me from behind a maze wall. We’re having fun, even though a maze has danger associated with it. It’s a place where you might get lost. But what does that matter if you are with your best friend? When you’re with the one you are meant to be with, you can’t get lost. You don’t even have anywhere to go.
Aileen and I have been more or less constant companions for years now. It started when we reunited at our 30th year high school reunion. We saw more and more of each other after that, and I relocated to be nearer to her. Then the pandemic came and the circumstances put us even closer together as I moved into her house. It was a test of our relationship – could we stand each other day in and day out for years? Could I fit in with the rest of her family? Turned out we all could. The pandemic was easy on us.
The only thing is, Aileen doesn’t handle sitting around at home all the time quite as well as I do. She needs to have work to do, some project to be doing, or she goes crazy (she’ll tell you she was already crazy). The lockdowns really hurt her industry, which is theatre, and she had to find other work when she could get it. But now that we’re coming out on the other side of the pandemic (maybe) she is deluged with work again. She might be going a little crazy with too much to do! But I know she’s happy for it, and I’m always amazed by her commitment and by how much she can get done. We both keep as busy as we can with multiple projects, like we’re running out of time.
Today is Aileen’s birthday, and I wrote this post to share how much I appreciate her in my life. We’re a couple of old fools getting older together. Ten years ago I never would have thought this is where I’d be in life. But now it only seems natural. We’ve known one another and loved one another since we were crazy kids in high school. We don’t even remember meeting; one of our inside jokes is that we must have known each other forever. Depending on your spiritual perspective, this may well be true.
Happy Birthday to you, Aileen, my dearest friend and my partner in life. Here’s to many, many more years together forever.