In “The We of Me”, Jacquelyn Mitchard pens a moving tribute to her “sorority of two” friend Jeanine, with whom she reunited after five long years of silence…oh, and pssst…No Time to Wave Goodbye, her sequel to her best-selling The Deep End of the Ocean, comes out TODAY–go to www.jackiemitchard.com for more info!
“If you have that one friend, you are rich. That one friend is different from all the others, dear as they are. There are close friends and best friends and situational friends. Their flaces flash into vivid prominence for a time and then fade–as we make our way from high school and college to the first job, from the company softball team to visiting the park with our newborns, from the junior soccer league to the neighborhood dinner club and the knitting circle. Some friendships endure only through the splendid memories they bequeath. Some revive with a yearly session of intense catching up. But some friendships, like ours, are what you once referred to, quoting Carson McCullers, as ‘the we of me.’ There is nothing you don’t know about me, nothing I don’t know about you. And some of these are things neither of us will ever share with anyone else on earth–even our children, even the people we love most. When we say someone is ‘like us,’ we don’t mean they grew up in the Midwest. We mean ‘us,’ an indefinable unit, a sorority of two.
It would be easy to say that we endured through thick and thin, good times and bad, loves and loss, the fleeting and oversold pleasures of youth, the blessings and unrelenting demands of motherhood, the excruciating and exhilarating demands of career. But it wasn’t like that. For five long, bleak years, we didn’t speak. For five years, we noticed in miserable silence as the other’s birthday slipped past on the calendar. Neither of us even tried to plaster over the great, unsightly hole the loss left behind. Our friendship was complicated and had to heal around that breach. Perhaps because it did, and because of what came afterward, it remains one of the most treasured bonds of our lives. It took tragedy to reunite us–and, eerily, we reunited in the nick of time.”
JACQUELYN MITCHARD is the author of the number one New York Times bestselling novel, The Deep End of the Ocean — chosen as the first book for Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club and named by USA Today in 2007 as one of the most influential books of the past 25 years. She has subsequently written seven other bestselling novels, The Most Wanted (1998), A Theory of Relativity (2001), Twelve Times Blessed (2003), Christmas, Present (2004), The Breakdown Lane (2004), Cage of Stars (2005), Still Summer (2007) as well as an essay collection, The Rest of Us: Dispatches From the Mothership (1997). The film version of The Deep End of the Ocean, starring Michelle Pfeiffer was released in March 1999. Still Summer, from Grand Central Books, now is in development for a Lifetime original film and Cage of Stars for an independent film by EMO Pictures.
A former syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services, Mitchard now is a contributing editor for Parade and Wondertime magazine, and a frequent contributor to magazines such as Reader’s Digest, Hallmark, More and Real Simple. Her screenplays include A Serpent’s Egg, with Amy Paulsen, and Doing Fine, with John Roach. She is the founding organizer of One Writer’s Place, a small residence for writers and artists healing through creativity after difficult life circumstances. Mitchard lives in Wisconsin with her husband Christopher Brent, and their seven children. Her website is www.jackiemitchard.com.
Read the rest of Jacquelyn’s letter, and 35 others, in P.S. What I Didn’t Say: Unsent Letters to Our Female Friends, now available on Amazon!