Twenty minutes early.
I made a cool pass by the glass door of the restaurant confirming it wasn’t even open yet.
My reflection announced it. My shoes were stupid. My dress was stupid. My self-doubt was stupid.
I hid out in a pizza joint with a flashing “hot slice” sign until I noticed women going in. My women.
I followed. Sometimes its also important to follow.
There were hugs and smiles. Introductions. Faces put to names. Finally.
And food. I mostly remember the biscuits.
And my phone was on the table, face up.
More awkward than bad hair is bad table manners. I tried to put it in my purse. Remembering the days when people had to live not being able to get in touch with you.
Remembering the days when my dad wasn’t dying.
Somehow, amongst the motley crew of warriors, I knew the call would come. I told my friend Erin.
“This phone is going to ring tonight.”
But we laughed first. God we laughed. We honored our warrior and her hard-fought love. The energy between them made us jealous and better. I wanted close to it. To hold it or steal it, I’m not sure which.
Instead, I took a quiet picture of them holding hands. The way they look at each other — the English language can’t describe them.
She stood to speak, to thank us. For our had work. As if we weren’t sure we have been the luckiest. To stand in the knowing that we belong to each other. To hold the light that others have given, literally given us.
I tried to say it. “This organization has meant the world to me, “ but I am not a public speaker. I am barely a public doer.
It took a year of hours for my dad to die and some of them I got to hustle with the hope of the Together Rising Team. These women ushered me into the back room where love gangsters run the numbers so the light the never goes out.
Thank you for phone calls, and flash mobs, and holiday hands. Thank you for underserved women, and children, and refugees and schools and daughters whose fathers are dying.
Of course, the phone did ring.
I stepped out of the laughter and into the cool evening of my sister’s voice of doom.
“Hey, Meg. Is this a bad time?
“I’m with the right people. Just tell me.”
“So it’s going to be soon.”
I looked past my reflection in at the collective. My mentors. The first I’d ever known. Lawyers, mothers, writers, soccer stars, winners, mourners, sisters. Laughing and loving in the face of death to come.
“Come tomorrow. Be there now.”
Be here now.
Two days before my father died I had dinner, with my phone sitting on the table, with women who count me in because I asked if I could help.
The funny thing about help? It’s never quite clear who is getting and who is giving.
In two days we are all getting.
(Don’t be silly, you are too. Amazon delivers everywhere).
Our chosen women stitch the under seam of grief with joy so we can rub the soft hem when we need reminding.
On International women’s day — to my TR team who held me in June two years ago, and again this August…and to the Untamed G-Love and her beloved A, I’m grateful to be in your light.
On the 10th I light the fireworks for you.