The last time I shared any food with Doralice was when we both happened to be back in Ecuador about fourteen years or so ago. I sat in her childhood home drinking some wine and eating cheese and some other such finger foods with her, her father and step mother I think her sister was due to arrive shortly. I had stopped by to be taken out to dinner by them and to enjoy some of her fathers wine. I remember it quite well, I recall looking out the big window to her back yard and saw the play house she and her sister shared. Oh, that magnificent playhouse. The first time I think I ever got to witness the splendor of that wonderful playhouse was at a birthday party, either for Doralice or her sister. It was a dream house. A pretty pale girly color that in my mind was a pink/lavender with white gingerbread trim. It sat near a tree and seemed like a house built specifically for wonderful little girls.
The magic of that house was that it had actual running water. I recall standing in the house as a little 6 or 7 year old and marveling at the house and then… when I turned the knob for the water… and real water came out… I thought I was going to cry from pure delight. How magnificent that was… to be in a house that fit my body that seemed to have the most essential thing for me to be able to live there. I was entranced. I recall turning to Doralice and saying “you have water, real water” and she told me her father had had it put in.
I was stunned again. I thought that this never would be something that my father would consider but that I was so impressed that her father did. That is the thing though, even as a small child I knew pretty certainly that her father adored her and her sister. There were not a lot of fathers who put that out there for people to see and it was striking.
I turned my face away from that house that day I shared a meal with Doralice. I smiled at her, this grown up and beautiful Doralice, she and I chatting as friendly strangers who had these vague recollections of each other as little girls as we made jokes about trying to outrun body guards and driving in the crazy city… I asked her if it still had running water and we walked out to see it…. chatting and revealing these tid-bits of the women we had become.
I was delighted by her, I found her funny and raw and real. The feeling of being uncomfortable at being with her after all these years (and not knowing what to say to someone I had shared but a few playdates with before our parents went on to make choices that would separate this burgeoning childhood friendship for almost twenty years…). well, they dissipated like the mists that cling to the city were were in and lift in a moment of glorious sunshine…
So, I left that country and she returned to New York.. and I heard news of her and her sister, through my mother, as she finished culinary school and her sister graduate school. Then Facebook came along and I saw her name attached to my mother and so, began the continuation of a burgeoning friendship with someone I have seen twice in the last 30 years… and who is responsible directly for my writing this story.
Our ties to each other are crazy, if we sat down and talked about them it would be like an Argentine telenovela but about us, and our families and the women we have become. I think we make a great story.
And I still love that play house.