Happy Birthday, My One and Only

Here’s why you’re gonna read this post:

If you don’t, you will miss out on a glimpse of the most perfectly quirky person to ever tromp the Earth in muddy Uggs and sequined shorts. This is my friend Jess, and today is her birthday.

At Halloween: She’s “spiked punch” – get it?

Jess is all things to me. I’ve known her since we were 17 and went to a poetry summer camp together. (Yes, we were those girls.) Since then, we’ve been college roommates (when Jess brought in Kate, the missing piece of our trifecta – but she’s another stunner, for another day).

We romped through Mexico together. Then she went and Peace Corps-ed in Cameroon, and I became a chocolate-maker. (She helped test the recipes, of course.)

Did I mention she’s studying to be a Sex Doctor? No, really – here’s a typical Facebook quote: “That moment when a scatter plot looks like a picture of people fornicating…. I shouldn’t be allowed to open stats programs this early in the morning.”

And did I say she gives the best gifts of anyone, ever? She uses the Post Office to the best possible ends. I should also share that she once hired a professional belly dancer to come give a lesson at our house, and we Skyped in our friends who couldn’t be there.

By the way, here’s the best relationship advice of all time, per Jess: With your partners and friends, when you need a bitch session, create a system where you just flat-out say in advance whether you want advice or merely a sympathetic ear. If I say “just listen,” that’s exactly what she does.

Here’s where we’ve been together: Asheville, New York, Mexico, Russia, St. John, and Ukraine. We’re just getting started! There are so many more places where we want to swap pixie sparkles for travel dust.

You should know, Jess creates adventure wherever she goes. Has chalk, will design sidewalk art. Sees cherry blossoms, knows it’s a photo op. Random jumping contest? Why the FUCK not?!

Jess is my sunshine. She lives life with SO MUCH out-loud joy. She is color, she is (slightly off-beat) rhythm, she is fresh bread and homemade blueberry jam. She taught me to dance without inhibition. She gave me an appreciation of puns. Without her, I wouldn’t recognize half the magic I find in the world today, and that’s the truth.

So there you have it – almost 13 years of friendship with my one and only Jess. Here’s how she’s celebrating her birthday tonight: “If you are around this weekend, you need to be at my house wearing a jungle costume on Saturday night. And you need to let me paint your face.” (How could anyone resist her?)

In your honor, mi media naranja, I’m gonna be rocking the face paint in my living room tonight. I promise to send you a photo if you promise we can do it for real next time you come home. And, in case you missed it… I love you.


68 responses to “Happy Birthday, My One and Only

    • One of my greatest dreams is for she and I to live in the same state again one day. Her mother’s best friend moved from NY to NC to be with her… I think we should repeat it in our generation! (I don’t mean to rub in the isolation you’ve been feeling lately, but I can tell you that Jess and I haven’t lived in the same state and/or country since 2003. And yeah, it sucks.)

      • Oh it’s ok! It’s lovely to hear the stories and that’s awesome her mother’s friend did that. You guys definitely should repeat it. I think about going back home all the time with one of the main reasons being my best friend. It sucks being without your “person”.

        • Yes. For a long time, I assumed whoever I married would be the end-all, be-all, companionship-wise. And he pretty much is – He’s my favorite man in the whole world! – but you just can’t fit every single thing one person needs to connect with in one human package. We all need friends, and family. πŸ™‚

  1. They have poetry summer camp? Who knew. My in-laws live in Arlington, VA right outside of DC and they sent their kids to Congress Camp. Now, WHY would you do that to a child?


    Hang onto that one, kiddo. Take it from me–they don’t come down the turnpike that frequently.

    • It was more than that… it’s called Governor’s School and is run on a college campus here in NC. They also take high school students for music, history, dance, math… but I could never have been nominated for anything but writing.

      And yeah, if I could grab her and head back to St. John this instant, I’d do it! Cool, clear water…

  2. What a touching ode to a friend there, Jennie. I can see the love and fun bursting off the screen there. I think you are lucky (and is she) to have that special someone in their lives, as many don’t. I think people cross paths and intertwine with our spirits for a reason, and she and you certainly have done that in each other’s lives. What a gift. What a joy.

    Thank you for sharing this, and a Happy Birthday to her πŸ™‚

    • I’m so glad you can see it! Thank you for your (always) kind words. When she read this, she called it our “shamelessly giddy love story,” which I think about sums it up. πŸ™‚

  3. What a fabulous, fabulous post! Happy Birthday, Jess! You’re one bright and happy sparkle and I’m happy that the lovely Jennie shared you with us!

    Jennie, this post is just so sweet and filled with happiness! Everyone really needs a Jess in their lives! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you for caring enough to read! So many people have told me how rare this kind of friendship is; meanwhile I always assumed everybody had at least one “magic” friend. After this post, I am feeling the luck as well as the love.

  4. I once read somewhere that if you want a good friend, you need to be a good friend…looks like you two have got it down pat, and the world’s a better place for it. Beautiful ode Jennie.

    • That’s quality advice right there. Once, I did tickle her when she told me not to, and got the ever-loving shit smacked out of me… it was a growing experience. πŸ˜‰ Other than that, it’s all good in the friendship-hood. Thank you for your words!

  5. My best friend and I are going on 18 years of friendship, and I can’t imagine life without her. You captured it perfectly; dang it, I want to be her friend. πŸ™‚

    • Yesterday I walked outside without my coat for the first time in months! Keep your hart warm – I think it’s doing good things for the NC weather patterns. πŸ™‚

  6. I am so glad my 2 “daughters” found each other! The magical bond that y’all share enriches not only yourselves, but also those around you.

    • BOB!!! I’m so glad you woke up from your booze coma and made your way over here!

      …I shouldn’t be snarky. This comment touched my heart. I love your whole fam damily so much. πŸ™‚

  7. Jess sounds like a true original – and a wonderful influence on your life. And make no mistake, you have been an amazing influence on hers. πŸ™‚

      • I try to read posts as they are created – but yours are usually chunky and deep, so I need to be in the right mental space to take them in. (Your posts are not items I can breeze through – which is not a bad thing at all!) πŸ™‚ So yes, I tend to stock yours up – and when I get a small pile of them, I dig in. πŸ™‚

        • This comment makes me very happy. I’m picturing an ice cream cone topped with lots of different flavors! Thank you so much for always stopping by, and adding so much to the conversation. πŸ™‚

  8. I love Jess already! Happy belated birthday wishes to you, Jess. And Jennie, what a fabulous snapshot of what true, genuine friendship should be like.

  9. Happy belated birthday Jess! You’re definitely the kind of person who makes every place you go a way better place — keep getting your happy on all over the world!

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