Things That Penetrate

I have been in a very prickly state of mind lately. I might be homesick, or maybe it’s the full moon, or perhaps it’s just January but whatever the cause, I am more likely to burst into tears or fly into a rage than I am to smile or laugh. The latter being my default setting.

It’s uncomfortable to be so angry and frustrated all the time. I don’t like it. For whatever reason, things that would normally roll off my back have instead been penetrating my reasonably thick skin and piercing my heart.

Where normally I might choose to remain silent and mutter a couple of “fuck you’s” to myself to keep the peace, I have been raising my battle armour, stomping my foot down hard and saying “absolutely not acceptable” in the loudest possible terms.

It’s exhausting. But I’m helpless to stop myself.

I have been trying to do a lot of self soothing. Tea drinking. Long walks in the sun. Staying out of the way of common annoyances. Wearing headphones outside and listening to great podcasts as I walk around to get a little cheerful western wit and intelligence into my day. Reading a good book and using social media less.

But this weekend I pretty much hit rock bottom. I mean, sure I can listen to Armchair Expert and laugh out loud and the sun on my face is definitely soothing. But when a “technician” stands in my living room and tells me that in order to make my wireless work, I need to use a wire, and then my Internet goes completely out, my website has a technical issue and the cooking gas runs out mid soup prep on a Sunday night. Well, a cup of tea is not going to help.

And then I get a text that reads,

“I just Shazammed LifeHouse!!! 😂😂”

Completely out of the blue. No preamble, no follow up.

This made my heart fill right up to the very top with a warm feeling of love so deep and so true that it’s almost as if an angel appeared and wrapped me in cashmere. It was almost (almost but not quite) as if little Daisy herself had plopped her head on my lap and said “I love you mommy” with a little sigh.

You see, the text came from my bad friend Susie. And I say “bad friend” because she is a bad friend and she knows it. We discuss it all the time. Susie is terrible at keeping in touch. Like, AWFUL-AT-IT. This is a girl who has made big plans to celebrate my birthday, to the point where I cancelled other plans in favour of hers, and then she calls me ON my birthday, talks about random things and then hangs up. Completely forgetting my birthday, any plans or really all of it.

But that’s ok. Because she is Suze. All it takes is one …”Dude, I am SO sorry” and all is forgiven. (But apparently not forgotten because that happened about 10 years ago.) I literally can not hold a grudge when it comes to this person. I love her with my whole heart.

Like I said, Susie is not good at keeping in touch. BUT, she did text me a couple of years ago, my first summer back to Canada, and she said, “I want to pick you up at the airport. I want to be the first person to see you and I want to be 100% certain I get a visit in.” She knows her limits and she works within them.

The text she sent yesterday about Lifehouse refers to a pretty hilarious incident back in maybe 2005? She was hot on the trail of knowing who sang a particular song. But she couldn’t remember the lyrics well.

We went to the mall together, back in the day when they still had CD stores.

She went about singing / humming (I’m not even kidding you) this song, horribly, to 16 year old shop workers. Now imagine, Susie is a 5 foot 10 inch blonde KNOCKOUT! None of those boys were paying any attention to the lyrics. She walked away disappointed.

I, meanwhile, had disassociated myself and selected a few CDs. We bought some lipstick at MAC, had lunch, got in the car. I popped in a new CD, we both pulled down the visor mirrors to apply new lipstick.

The first song starts playing and sure enough……”DUDE!!!!! I love this song. Wait a minute. THATS the song!” It was Lifehouse. Falling even more in love with you…..

All the blonde jokes made so much sense.

So when I got the text it took me back to that moment. To my deep and unconditional love for Suze. I know it may be the only words I hear from her until I see her face this July. But it doesn’t change my love for her.

I have a few friends like that. A few friends that are unimpreachable. People for whom I would go to the end of the earth. People who I have no expectation of ever seeing again in this life, but for whom I would never dream of whispering goodbye to.

I mean obviously I have some lifelong friends for whom I would fly across the world to support if it is within my ability to do. People who thrill me to bits by making unexpected border crossings when all the stars align and we find ourselves together for an evening, even though we live on opposite global corners.

I have a few friends that I think of every single day. Without fail. Maybe we don’t speak very often because there is the business of raising small children to be had. Or maybe we play Words with Friends and I can hear the (Dr. Evil) laughter when JET gets played for 173 points.

Or maybe I just get the occasional text with a photo of the kids and my heart grows 100 times in size.

It’s funny though. What makes those people into “my people”. What makes someone unimpeachable? I am planning a trip with a friend who I remember meeting for the first time sitting with in our mutual boss’s office. It was his first day and my birthday and the Mounties were lining up on York St. in riot gear. Here we are 15 years later….

These are the people I plan my summer days around. These are the people I see when I’m home come Hell or high water. And if I don’t see them this year you can be sure it will be next.

What is it that gives these certain people entry and free passage into my heart? Respect for one thing. I don’t think any one of those people has ever been disrespectful to me, nor I to them.

There are certain expectations of behaviour that come with this role. We can disappoint each other, or disagree with each other. But there is always a level of respect. Something that doesn’t always hold in romantic relationships. Something that goes far, far beyond matters of the heart and gets into the realm of the soul. The very fibre of your being.


I’m so glad for having spent time writing this. And for taking the time today to think about some of these special people. It makes the silence due to lack of Internet a bit easier. It makes my low level tolerance of late seem manageable. It makes my serious need for a mental health break less urgent. It makes my heart feel less trodden on and more resilient.

It makes me feel warm inside. I’m so lucky to have all these people filling up my heart and making my armour a little thicker.


  1. Sue Pigott

    Honestly, your words are so eloquent.
    I love reading your stuff.
    Your words often speak to me, or for me. Maybe not directly (although I would be thrilled if there were to me).
    It’s weird that I miss living beside you… For how long? 6 months?!? You and your family are some of my favourite people in the whole world. I had a set when I was a kid across the st from me. And of course Sue beside your dad. And that is it. You helped make me feel like part of a neighbourhood a community . And even though you are a million miles away, your words still do it.
    Enjoy the sun and warmth.

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