2007 is nearly done - tomorrow we celebrate new years.
New years eve always makes me think of the sister of my heart, if not of my genes.
She and I met many years ago - more than 10 years ago, anyways.
I was at a company party with my then-husband, John, and it was a picnic sort of thing, where we were divided into teams and solving different tasks - like making a raft and sailing it on the stream, etc.
Being the outgoing person I am, I had agreed to go into a group where I didn't work closely with anyone - to make the puzzle pieces fit right. And in this group was a colleague of mine, who had the loveliest girlfriend along with him.
She was an exotic brazilian flower, freezing on that rather cool summer day. Hair all black and curly and long, olive skin and almond eyes that just seemed to laugh so easily. Outgoing and sweet, willing to be open and talk, in her adorably accented but very eloquent english. And with those fluttery-bird hands - gesturing even more than I usually do.
We hit it off incredibly well. There was an amazing chemistry - had we been opposite sexes we would surely have eloped together that day!
Of course I am talking of my dear far-away friend, Roberta. Back then living right in Fredericia, with her then-husband.
We didn't leave it at having a good time at the party. Actually, we started seeing each other - me and my husband, her and her boyfriend - as couples do. But it was always Roberta and me, tying that friendship together.
At first it was scary - to me, at least. I am not that used to getting really close with someone really fast. It is not the danish way, and even if I might have the talent in my genes somehow, it has rusted due to living here all my life. You have to dance the ritual dance that the elders teach you - you have to make friends little by little and step by step.
Roberta and I slid down the banister, instead. The speed was dizzying and frightening, but all of a sudden, we were friends and sisters at heart.
I was present at her wedding to her boyfriend, and we visited them several times in London, after they moved there in an attempt to find a place where Roberta could get a job - it wasn't easy in Denmark at that time, for a person lacking danish skills.
In the years where Roberta lived in Fredericia, and later on in London, we made it a tradition (short lived, but still...) to celebrate new years together. We did it for 3 or 4 years in a row - up until that eventful year, 2000, where we both divorced our husbands within a few months.
Even in that year we did manage to see each other - not for new years, but in october, when she left London to go back to Brazil and from there on to her new life in Connecticut, USA. She stopped by Denmark to visit for a few weeks, and that was the last time I saw her.
It was a sad and confused time. She'd split up with her husband, and was leaving to start over again - practically with nothing. I was at a crossroad in my own marriage, and as it worked out, I left it behind just a month after Roberta went on her way.
Now - 7 years later - we are still friends. She greets me ever so often on my messenger, and I hear news of her life with Mike, the guy whom she married. They are usually busy, and not always prosperous. But I hear her quiet happiness in that life she leads in their pretty stone house, with their lovely dogs, and a job that challenges her talent.
I hope my sweet orchid will bloom for a long long time in chilly Connecticut.
And I hope to some day celebrate New Years Eve with her again.