Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Lady Julia's Birthday Gift

That first time I heard her name, Richard said, “Had you been born in Australia, you would be her.” Her name was Julia, Julia Stanton. It was a name with strength, and honesty, and music, a name an author might give a character. I liked saying it, hearing it, and imagining the person who owned it.

Vincent called it “airing out.” It was a ritual that started when I was commuting from California to Massachusetts – my friends, Margaret and Vincent had taken me in as family in their extra bedroom. Every Sunday we’d take a road trip three hours or so up to Maine, find a restaurant on the oceanfront, and talk the afternoon away. I love them for every detail of every moment of every Sunday to Sunday and in-between them.

It’s true that airing out makes breathing easier during the week.

During those days is when I actually met Julia in person. We met in England where she lives today and shared dinner with Richard. It was 11 years since I’d first heard her name. When we met I saw immediately why Richard had said what he’d said about us. Few would see or say the same thing, but there’s a place where Julia and I are exactly the same.

Margaret and Vincent heard stories about Julia. Julia heard stories about them. That trading of tales went on until Julia came around the time of my birthday, her own just a few weeks away.. For birthdays’ sake, we set out together for an “airing out Sunday,” with Julia.

Before lunch, we stopped at a beautiful spot in Hampton Beach. We all walked along the sidewalk between the sand and the street. While Margaret, Vincent, and Julia talked,

I walked off to put the sand under my sneakers. The feedback was marvelous. As I neared the water I became peaceful, crawling further and further into my eyes. The mansion before the purple sky on the hill is still fixed in my mind and held me still staring at it. I was surrounded on three sides by sky. On three sides there land reaching around me and out to touch the water, keeping the statue of me in safe harbor. As I felt the sea breeze of the ocean breathing, three dear and lifelong friends were behind watching over me.

“Is she okay?” Julia asked.
“Oh yes,” Margaret said.

And I was very much okay. I was in the center of creation. On my way to the three I stopped to pick up to granite stones. One was large one was smaller, I took them to Julia.

“Happy Birthday to both of us, Julia. I’d like you to have this little stone to remember this day by. I promise I’ll keep mine until you tell me you no longer have yours.”

Julia Stanton got married this summer in a castle to a wonderful man I think who loves her. He’s wonderful and they are wonderful together. I call her the Lady Julia and him Lord David. I can imagine her coming down castle stairs to him. She and he both deserve such a lovely dream come true.

I’m holding that granite stone now eight years later. I’ll keep it until she tells me she doesn’t have hers.
−me strauss Letting me be


Anonymous said...

What a great story, Liz. You have such a web of friends. I hope that Lady Julia and Lord David live happily ever after.

"ME" Liz Strauss said...

I think they very well might. There story is one I should tell you one day. :)