katzpawz - 12/20/2009 2:37 AM ET
Keep telling her - again and again and again - NEVER QUIT WRITING!!!!!! Katz
|this is a new chapter written by my friend Maryann (but listed by me..she is she!). Please feel free to read the beginning of the story here also if you havent' already. Even more important...your comments/opinions would be greatly welcome & appreciated!
“Seriously Babe, can we please change the station? We’ve been listening to country for the last 400 miles and I am beginning to think I should write my own country song about this cross country trip.”
Liz laughed, “Come on Chris, it isn’t that bad.”
“My baby got a job, it’s all the way across the country. She got a new car and didn’t know how to drive it because it’s stick so she forced me to go with her. She ain’t paying me my dues, I’m starting to sing the blues. Seen so many deer on the side of the road, and I’m pretty sure we done run over a toad.”
She tried not to laugh at his feeble attempt at a country song, but just couldn’t fight it. “Okay, okay, you win. You can listen to that gawd awful AM sports radio station until we hit Wyoming, then we will flip a coin to see what we listen to from there. Maybe we should take turns changing the station each time we cross into a new state?”
“Ha, great plan, since you’ve controlled the radio since we left Connecticut!” She smacked his hand as he reached for the radio dial and they both laughed. Twenty seconds later the speakers were filled with the familiar snap crackle and pop of an AM radio station. Liz would never understand how men could listen to so much noise and still hear what the announcers had to say. Why is it that the sports stations were only on the stations filled with static anyway? Her country stations always came in crystal clear.
Resigning herself to the fact that she was faced with hours of snap crackle and pop Liz reached in the back seat to grab the book that Mariella had given her for their road trip. Seeing Mariella’s clear printed signature on the inside cover made Liz close her eyes and think back to their emotional goodbye.
“Drive safely, okay, scratch that, tell Christopher to drive safely, after all, he has my best friend in the car with him. If you stop at the truck stops make sure you aren’t alone at all. I’m serious, if you have to go to the bathroom make sure muscle man there waits outside the door for you. I don’t care how many animals you see, no matter how cute they are, do NOT stop and pick them up, NO, you can NOT keep them as pets. I want you to go there with the fewest amount of attachments as possible so that when they see how much talent you have and promote you to run World Headquarters back East you can just pack up and leave on a moment’s notice. I will be here, champagne chilled, strawberries ready to be dipped in chocolate and a huge hug with your name on it.”
“Mar, I can’t leave you. This is insane, what was I thinking taking a job clear across the country? What if I get there and hate it? What if my apartment has roaches? What if I never learn to drive a stick shift, I’ll be paying to park my car there permanently. I’d have to hire a driver just so I can get to work. This is nuts, I just can’t do this.”
“Okay champ, slow down. We both know you have to go. Trust me, it would be my pleasure to list all the reasons why I don’t think you should move to California, and believe me, my reasons make even more sense than the crazy ones you just listed… but I won’t do that. You need to do this, you need to get your butt out there and show them how amazing you really are, it’s the only way you can get promoted and get sent back here to work in HQ.”
“No, don’t ‘but Mar’ me. You won’t hate it, you know you hate the snow and ice and you won’t miss that part at all. If your apartment has roaches call and exterminator, but it won’t have roaches, because your Aunt Debbie single handedly picked it out for you. She’s the world’s biggest prima donna! If she thought she saw a roach she’d not only scream at the realtor, she’d complain so loudly that they would knock the building down and rebuild it just to shut her up.” (Liz giggled at that, her aunt was tenacious!) “As for learning to drive shift, no worries, Christopher has that all under control, he told me he’s going to make various stops along the way to California and take some time to let you get behind the wheel and practice. Knowing Christopher he’ll have you driving like a race car driver before you get halfway there! Did I touch on all of your concerns? Did I miss anything?”
Liz grumbled, “No, you got them all. Well, all but one. I’m going to miss you so much, I can’t leave you behind. Come with me!!”
Mariella’s eyes were glistening but she refused to give in to the tears, softly she said, “I’d love to, but I just hung up the phone from an executive at Briarwood Publishing and they’re looking for a hard working college grad to work insane hours for insulting pay and I just couldn’t say no.”
Finally a smile reached Liz’s lips, “Mariella!! When did this happen? Briarwood Publishing? Seriously? You got a job, I can’t believe you didn’t tell me! When do you start, what will you be doing? Are you going to be writing your own story or do you have to write about whatever topic they hand you?”
It was Mariella’s turn to smile, “You’re too funny. I won’t be writing at all, I wasn’t kidding about the bad pay and long hours, I’ll be working in the mail room and doing grunt work. They don’t know or care that I write. Well, okay, they probably know, but they don’t care. To be honest, I don’t care either, I am just happy to get my foot in the door.”
“See, I knew that killer blue blazer would do the trick.”
Mariella chuckled, “Oh really? You don’t think it was my amazing personality or fascinating interview skills?”
“Well, yeah, that too, but I’m sure the suit sealed the deal.” Liz grabbed Mariella and pulled her into a hug, “I am so happy for you girl!”
“I’m happy for both of us. Now listen, get your butt in the car and let that handsome hunk of a man drive you to California. Stop often to appreciate the ride, take a million pictures and call me once in a while, okay?”
Liz choked back the tears, “I promise, I will call you every Sunday night. I want you to write while I’m gone, write about everything, write every day, write down everything that happens so that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.”
“You won’t miss a thing, I will document it all. I will miss you, I already do. Don’t go and find a new best friend, okay?”
The tears flowed freely for both of them now, neither one trying to fight it any longer. “Nobody could be a better best than you. I miss you already too.”
They hugged for a long time. Christopher watched from the driver’s seat. He didn’t clear his throat, he didn’t look at his watch. He respected their bond, he even envied it. He knew they needed to do their goodbye their own way, and he knew he would have Liz all to himself for the next week on the road, so he didn’t feel the need to rush them. A cross country trip wasn’t going to be any shorter if they left now or in another five minutes.
Eventually Mariella pulled back from Liz. She knew she had to be the strong one right now, she could only imagine how difficult it was for Liz to pack up everything and move 3000 miles away from those she loved the most. Yes, she would be the stronger one right now, but later planned on having a complete and total melt down, complete with her softest blanket, a fresh box of tissues and a pint of her favorite ice cream.
“Okay, off with you. You have a lot of road to cover and a hot chauffeur waiting to take you there.”
Liz wiped her eyes, “ I love you Mariella Chase, zozo”. Zozo had been their own private joke since they were in college. One night laying in bed they got into a conversation on the origin of certain words and meanings and they understood that an ‘o’ would represent a hug, but why would an ‘x’ represent a kiss, any letter could have done, hence the birth of zozo instead of xoxo.
Mariella smiled a sad smile as she said goodbye to her best friend in their old familiar manner, “I love you Elizabeth Marie Love, zozo and be safe, I’ll be right where you left me”.
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