Photo Credit: r.nial.bradshaw
In the fourth grade we spent most of our time and energy watching the skies, praying for rain clouds, lining Dixie cups around Mary’s front yard, sidewalk, and driveway, and performing intricate rain dances by the light of the moon. When the dances failed to work, we became more creative, setting out offerings of flowers, candy, even our mothers’ favorite bras in an effort to appease the rain gods.
Someone had told Mary rainwater grew boobs.
Storms at the Hastings’ house resembled frat parties, the two of us running wild, wet t-shirts clinging to our skin, chugging cup after cup of rainwater in a mad drinking contest.
By the time middle school started, Mary had her boobs. Two magnificent mounds rounding quickly into orbs of perfection. She would stand before the mirror, shirt off, as we regarded them with solemn awe. I doubled my rainwater consumption, but never caught up. Fortunately for me, Mary was a gracious victor, answering all my questions on the particulars of boob ownership and boob maintenance.
We remained close even after college, yet our careers, marriages, children, the general business of adult life gradually filled the space between us and we drifted out of touch for perhaps a decade or more.
It wasn't until the age of fifty-five that Mary called me. She had news. I rushed to her side, honored to be the one she had thought to contact. Honored by her selflessness and her willingness, once again, to share such a personal, intimate circumstance. To answer all my questions.
I didn't see two middle aged women staring back at us from the hospital mirror then. I saw two young girls still summoning the rain gods, our solemn awe this time directed at Mary's flat, scarred chest. Despite their obvious absence, despite their painful loss, we celebrated.
She was a victor once more.