Sometimes I need shoulders other than my own.
That's why I have my four friends that meet together religiously once a month for the last 25 years. Sometimes one of us needs all four sets of shoulders. It's the closest thing we have to professional counseling and a hell of a lot cheaper. In fact, I think it's better. A counselor doesn't LOVE you. These four friends do. We love each other like sisters and sometimes like mothers. There isn't a problem or predicament that is too difficult or too convoluted that can't be aided and softened by this particular circle of friends.
We don't always get together to whine about our problems, although we know we can without criticism or judgment. A lot of times we get together and confess our antics and adventures, to gales of laughter. There was that time that "one of us" (never ever will I let on who it was, other than to say it unequivocally was NOT me) dyed her hair. All of her hair. Both on her head and down there. She wanted to look like a natural blonde – everywhere, which left nothing to the imagination for the rest of us on why she wanted to have matching hairdos. Instead of blonde down there, she was temporarily screaming her head off from the pain and was afraid her precious hair was being burned off by the chemicals. Never again – she'd shave it off first.
Another friend of the four recently had surgery for Parkinson's where battery packs were implanted in her chest with wires through her neck to her head that would subtly zap her to keep her shaking down to a low roar. She calls her implants her baby boobs, not to be confused with her big boobs.
She used to be a hair dresser. We've watched her hair go from bald to short, sticking straight up hair that was incredibly soft (so we were at restaurants where all four of us were running our fingers through her new soft hair, exclaiming how soft it was), to a chic new do in her natural salt-and-pepper color. (And no, it wasn't her that had the pubic hair adventure.) She's become stunningly beautiful.
Now it's my turn. I will be seeing my kidney specialist in a couple weeks to discuss either going on dialysis or being put on a transplant list. It is a monumental deal. It's not that I'm surprised because I have known this day would come, for many years. I kind of had hoped it would never come and that I would maintain as I have for so long. But coming it is – and fast.
My dinner with my friends is on the 15th – in time for me to use their shoulders and gain strength to face the verdict from my doctor. And they will be with me afterwards to carry me forward. That's what shoulders are for.