It is late at night, the darkness a cloak that encourages free-ranging discussion and soul-baring. We walk, my friend and I, our steps in sync. We talk about life choices, career choices, being left without choices, making the most of the cards we hold. We talk of finding balance, of discovering peace, whatever that means to each of us.
I lie in bed long past our walk reveling in the glory that is female friendship. The ability to say something and be understood, to sometimes vent and know there are no solutions being offered, just unconditional support. To be able to speak without reserve, to lay bare fears, vulnerabilities and emotion, in ways that are not possible with family.
It is in my forties that I realize the worth of these beautiful relationships I have been blessed with all my life. As a young woman in Bangalore, I relied on my sorority for fun, for serving as a sounding board while I figured out existential things like my identity and what I wanted in a life partner. In my thirties, they were the safety net when I grappled with career decisions and the black hole that was my quest to build my family.
As a mother, I lean in on these fabulous women to advice me before I hit up Google or call the nurses line at the pediatrician. And boy do they deliver! Then there are my writer friends, women who are in the trenches, battle worn and weary yet rooting for me when I join them.
They are present, blinking cursors on my chat window, recent calls on my phone, unarchived Whatsapp conversations. They surround me like a gossamer web, barely visible, yet present, waiting, watching should I stumble. On days like today, I feel lifted, carried and light.
Thank you to all you fabulous women who have been there for me, unconditionally.