A Canvas of Pure Beauty

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I have often heard it said that you only get one best friend in your life.  I am one of the lucky ones who got two.

I was hit with a revelation just the other day as I was looking through my childhood BFF’s boudoir photographs that she had taken recently.  I was surprised that she had these taken, and I’m not sure that she would have had the photographer taking them not been a very close friend of hers.  You see, she is a very simplistic woman.  She’s never been one to put on the glitz and glam.  I can count on one hand the number of times that I have seen her in a dress, one of them being her wedding day.  She’s the jeans and t-shirt kind of gal.  Yet, she is one of the lucky ones who does not require makeup to be beautiful.  I’ve always thought she was beautiful; inside and out.

We have been inseparable since we were in the 3rd grade.  We became classmates when we were in 1st, but for some reason, we didn’t click until a couple of years later.  If memory serves me correctly, our friendship began with my broken pair of glasses.  I can’t remember how they got broken, but she was the one that broke them.  She was apologetic, and I was grateful that she had broken them so I wouldn’t have to wear them anymore.  From that moment, we did everything together!

Those were the days when we were outside playing games of Red Rover, Red Rover, Truth or Dare, Double Dutch, riding our bikes, dancing and singing like fools to every New Kids on the Block song, playing basketball.  The only rules we had was to not cross the highway and when the street lights came on, we had better be home.  There were no cell phones, no 250 plus channels of cable television, and the only game systems we had were Atari and Nintendo.  Our lives certainly did not revolve around the television.  If you dared tell one of your parents that you were bored, they would find something for you to do.

We both had many friends, but the two of us shared something special.  It took me a long time to realize how special it was.  It’s usually during difficult times that you truly learn who your real friends are.  Around the age of 11 and 12, I went through a rebellious stage.  There was a lot going on at home during that time, and I had become an extremely angry child.  I quit caring about my grades and school merely became the place for me to cause trouble and socialize.  I craved attention and I didn’t care how I got it.  I disrupted class and I was very disrespectful.  It was at this age that I smoked my first cigarette and tasted alcohol for the first time.  Needless to say, there were a lot of rumors going around school about me.  In reality, most of them were not true.  But, I had painted myself as this bad ass and I didn’t even bother to deny the rumors.  I just went with it.  Naturally, I became the girl that most avoided like the plague, with the exception of the other rebels…..and my best friend.

She has always been there for me.  When everything around me and inside of me was crumbling, she was there.  To this day, we have never had a fight.  She finally confessed to me many years later how much of a bitch I was during our preteen years, and I’m still not sure what it was that made her stick by me.  I can tell you that she has probably saved my life on more than one occasion in all the years that we have known each other.  She has been the glue that held me together, the solid rock to grab a hold of in the quicksand that surrounded me, and the voice of reason when I was about to do something reckless and stupid.  I was the cause of most of her groundings growing up and I’m surprised that her parents didn’t forbid her to hang out with me.

So, when I looked through this photo album of hers, I couldn’t help but be slapped in the face with the beauty of this amazing woman.  There was something about this picture that captured all that I knew and loved of this wonderful creature that has been in my life for going on 27 years now.  Of all the pictures that I thought made her look so gorgeous, beautiful, and captivating, this one in particular took my breath away.  The one that you see here……prior to her makeup being applied, unaltered by photoshop.  This picture captured the most exquisite detail of her in a way that made the inner beauty accessible to the outside and able to be viewed in a single picture.  The more I stared at it, the more it hit me just how beautiful she is and how truly blessed I am to have her in my life.  It immediately flooded me with memories and a sense of gratitude.  Few people get to see her this way and know her the way that I do.  She is compassionate, loving, and I don’t think she has a selfish bone in her body.  She is the most loyal, giving person that I know.  She has a gentle spirit and has always been the peacemaker.  She is the essence of love in its truest form.

Nina

She is the friend that I never deserved and could never have earned.  Lucky for me, I never had to do either.  She was always able to see through the anger, resentment, and showing off that I did over the years and she held my hand through it all.  She is the light that shines within the pain and darkness of memories from my past.  She is what reminds me of the good in the world even in the midst of my darkest hour.

Having her in my life makes me believe in guardian angels.  I think that maybe there are many that don’t necessarily have wings.  Without a doubt, she is my angel; never in a million years could there be another like her.  I don’t know that I’ve ever told her how much she means to me.  I only hope that by sharing this with all of you that it will make up for it somehow.

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