As an only child, I’ve collected surrogate siblings throughout my life. They’re individuals with whom I not only share history, but bonds that are seemingly unbreakable no matter the hammering they receive. I love each of them unconditionally (even when conditions aren’t favorable) and for very different reasons, regardless of the similarities they may share.
But in this family I’ve created – in the entirety of my universe – I say with certainty that there’s no one like Noelle.
We met in 2003 at a time when our roads of self-discovery intersected at an apartment in Pacific Beach, San Diego, California. A mutual friend was adamant that we connect; all week long at work I heard about “Noelle” and how he knew we’d become good friends.
A pistol from the Midwest, Noey (as many of us call her) is built like a flaxen supermodel, with wit like Larry David, the mouth of a trucker, and a laugh that can be heard for several city blocks. She’s the funniest person I know, as well as one of the kindest. She’s a music trivia savant; enjoys hula hooping while roller skating; and is never without a Greek chorus of friends, family, and admirers vying for her attention.
Most importantly, Noey’s mom to Q, her six-year-old mini-me, a child who’s influenced my appreciation for tots. This is no small feat, but Q isn’t your average kid…just like her mama.
Over the years, Noey and I raised hell, some roofs, and several eyebrows. She put up with my tales of woe from the end of my marriage to relationship meltdowns; I grew to appreciate her obsession with Phish and love for playing pranks. Even though there were several years when we barely spoke, I’d always refer to her as “My best friend, Noelle”.
Although life took us in varying directions, Noey and I maintained a close friendship, never skipping a beat when we’d reunite for drinks and dishing. In July 2018, at Noey’s insistence, I moved in with her and Q for “however long I needed”. I was in transition at the time (entertaining a move out of California) and was seeking a consistent place to land while I sorted through my shit. “However long I needed” turned into a year of some of the most fun I’ve had in the past two decades; it also allowed me to witness, and experience for myself, the despair that life can conjure.
On Wednesday, July 17, 2019, Noey celebrated her birthday in the hospital, and I hit the road for Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her bedside was my last stop before leaving town, and as we said our teary goodbyes, we knew we each had a tough road ahead of us. Eventually, we’d be stronger individuals. But damn straight, we’d always be besties.
(Take my word for it: watching your best friend almost die in front of you, inexplicably, is hell.)
More to come.