It was a year ago to the day that I survived The Earthquake. It’s true, it took me some time to extract myself from the rubble and brace myself against the aftershocks. But in the immortal words of Gloria Gaynor… Anybody Wanna Party?
Oh wait. Wrong song.
Regardless, there is really only one reason to bother to recognize this preposterous anniversary. It’s not like it is circled in black on my calendar, adorned with my tiny doodles of daggers and broken hearts. I truly was not thinking about it at all. Until I got a brunch date. It felt like something much more than serendipity that today—of all days—I had a helluva date.
Today, I finally got to meet a person that I have only virtually known. And one that I count among my good friends, despite us never been in the same room together.
Melanie and I met over email because of an act of bravery. Her bravery, to be clear. She contacted me after she received some anonymous posts on her blog. She and I had something in common, you see. The Earthquake. And he was right about to shake up her world too. She was feeling the first tremors. She emailed me to ask me if I was the person leaving the nameless comments and to ask if I had anything I wanted to tell her directly.
O.M.G. I had so, so much I wanted to tell her. But I didn’t. Not then.
Aside—For the record, it was not me leaving anonymous vitriol. However, after she asked about it, I did look at the posts. And I agreed with everything Ms. Jane Doe had written. I was glad someone had tried to warn Melanie about what she was getting into.
But as things began to tremble for her back east, she and I began to communicate more. I got to know her better. And that really pissed me off a little, because I found out that I didn’t hate her. I actually really liked her.
And now, after our brunch involving her layover in Salt Lake and my early lunch hour break, I have to say, I adore her. And it wasn’t just how much she appreciated my flask filled with vanilla vodka. It was that we had a strangely common history that is the foundation of many friendships. But it was also that we both understood that—while that foundation existed—there was no need to bolster it. We could go ahead and build on it. We could share stories of kids and growing up and jobs. The Earthquake was merely the reason we knew each other. Not the reason we want to continue to know each other.
I received many gifts post-Earthquake. Because of the Earthquake. In the few months after things crumbled, I was writing at a level that I only rarely have achieved before. I have strengthened many of my muscles, most importantly my heart. And I have found new friends. Friends that share with me the experience of survival.