On Friendship

On Monday the 13th of March, I was home in Gloucester for Spring Break. My mother and I made plans to have dinner with Regina Symonds, my old french tutor, and her daughter, also called Rachel, an old friend of mine. We met at restaurant in Downtown Gloucester called The Franklin.

I admit that I have always been a little jealous of Rachel. She is tall and beautiful and a talented actress, who usually got leading roles when we did plays together in our younger days. Right now, she is attending college in New York City, studying and performing in the works of Shakespeare and getting to go the Metropolitan Opera. Talking to her about what she has been up to makes me wonder what I’m doing with my life.

Madame Symonds and I discussed how I’m hoping to study abroad in Paris next years, which she highly recommends. My mother is less enthusiastic with the idea; my xenophobic grandparents have convinced her that Europe is a terrorist infested hellhole. But I think that I will be able to convince her to let me go for three next summer. I hoped to use this get together with Madame Symonds as an opportunity to try out some of my french, but english was the main language we used.

The Franklin is a chichi restaurant in Gloucester’s comparatively upscale downtown area. My mother paid for the dinner; she would later complain about how expensive it had been. But the price had been worth it; the chicken and spinach macaroni and cheese I had was delicious and Madame Symonds and Rachel are both very sophisticated and enjoyable to talk to. I miss getting together with Madame at the Pleasant Street Tea Company for our Thursday evening lessons.

Sarah Stotzer has been my therapist since I was ten and over the past eleven years has become more like friend.  We have only been able to meet every few months or so since I have started college and since I was home on spring break, we made plans to meet. The day chosen was Friday, March 17th; my mother drove me over to her house for five o’clock. I shared with her some drawings and songs from a playlist I made based on the story I am writing while we talked about what was new in our lives. Sarah is someone who I have always found it easy to talk to and sharing my work is the best way for me to explain how I’m feeling or what I am interested in at the moment. I have been sharing my writing with her since I was eleven or twelve; it could be argued that Sarah was the one who got me started as a writer.

When my mother picked me up at six, we decided to go see O’Malley Middle School’s production of Mulan Jr., which my neighbor Rhian was in.  We tried to go out to dinner but since we only had less than an hour until the show, we decided to get McDonalds. O’Malley is my old middle school and I was a part of their drama program back in the day. I ran into one of my old theater teachers, Miss Sellers, and we chatted for a while before the curtain went up. Miss Sellers was always good to me when I was at O’Malley, though I was never successful in the drama program.

The production of Mulan Jr. got two reactions from me: “Aren’t they adorable?” and “Bless their hearts, they try.” My middle school self thought that O’Malley’s productions were rather impressive but my older and wiser self only finds them quaint. Rhian had the smaller part of Mulan’s Mother but performed in the chorus that night (oh well, I never did any better). My mother promised her mother that we would drive her home and she was cordial but quiet during the ride home. She used to be a chatty little girl but is now a taciturn adolescent; I miss the days when she thought I was cool and my presence did not cramp her style.

I promised my roommate, Jasmine, that we would go see the new live action remake of Beauty and the Beast when we returned from spring break on Monday, March 20th. The Salem Cinema at the Museum Place Mall is one of our favorite places in town. A few doors down is a pizza place we enjoy. At five o’clock, I called at taxi to bring us to Museum Place Mall. We bought our tickets and then still had an hour and a half or so to kill. Our next stop was a bookstore that Jasmine and I love called Wicked Good Books, where I bought an old copy of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. Then we returned to the mall and got pizza and loafed around the mall, discussing the merits of tomboys vs. girly girls, until quarter to seven.

Going to see a movie, getting pizza, and taking a look into Wicked Good Books describes a perfect evening for Jasmine and I. We both adored Beauty and the Beast and sang “Be Our Guest” during the taxi ride home. I am currently doing research for a version of the Cupid and Psyche  myth, which bears many similarities to the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, and I noted down some aesthetic elements from film to add to my own version. You know what they say? Good writers borrow, great writers steal.

My friend, Samantha, is an ambitious and career focused woman and is often too busy for us together as often as I would like to. She was going to be in Gloucester, watching her parents house, during the weekend of March 24th, and invited me over to watch a movie with her. I had the perfect film. Samantha and I are both big fans of Jane Austen and I got a dvd of Love and Friendship, which is based on Austen’s novel, Lady Susan. She said she would pick me up around quarter to seven but a meeting of her’s ran later than expected and I did not get to her house until almost eight. I was very hungry by this point and Samantha and I got started right away with making our homemade pizza, which was served with sauted vegetables. We sat down to watch Love and Friendship with Samantha’s dog, Rosie, trying to mooch our food. I was completely full when I finished my dinner but still forced myself to down the root beer float I had been looking forward to; I hated myself when I came home after the movie. I shared an idea with Samantha about getting a summer job or internship at the Shalin Liu performance center in Rockport, which she encouraged; this week I called the Shalin Liu and got an interview for a summer job.

It was getting late when she drove me home. I was getting a cold and probably should have gone to bed early and not eaten so much. This was a mistake I made again the following night when my brother, Tom, and his girlfriend, Gabby, convinced me to go out with them; I had two drinks which was two drinks many.


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