i had two countdowns going.
one for the day one of my best friends was coming to visit me in new york city and one for the day she was going to get engaged. we had been planning her trip to new york before i even knew i was officially going, so naturally, neither day could come fast enough. if you have ever been lucky enough to have a friend as extraordinary as her, you would do everything within your reach to make the weekend not only special, but unforgettable. if you had a friend like her, you would avoid texting her as much as possible so as not to ruin the surprise. and if you had a friend like her you would stay up all night googling creative ideas, wake up at 7 am to have secret planning conversations with her boyfriend, and cry every chance you got because you knew she deserved every ounce of happiness that was coming her way.
the thing is, you do have a friend like her. because more than likely, she already is your friend. in fact, she’s everyone’s friend. and so we all worked together, independently. her boyfriend tired himself out by working ridiculously long hours to not only pay for his trip, but also find her the ring she wanted. he tolerated her constant questioning regarding his finances and patiently listened to her ‘lectures’ about him needing to budget better. because he had never been to new york city before, i walked around and took pictures of different places to send to him and he woke up early to call me and work out little details and analyze the different places. her friends offered suggestions about finding the perfect ring and opinions on how to create the perfect day. her parents accepted and welcomed him to the family. prior to the weekend she flew in, we all had it lined out perfectly.
and then the actual weekend came.
to tell you the truth, the weekend was a disaster. after two cancelled flights, two lost luggages, and two wasted taxi trips to the airport, we all were a little disappointed with their first day. after waiting on a taxi that never showed up, we arrived back to the apartment at 4 in the morning and decided to wake up early and try the day over tomorrow. unfortunately however, the next day started off as more of the same. $280 later, they found their luggages and after taking up the better half of their second day, they were able to change out of their clothes for the first time. excited to see something other than the airport, we stepped outside and didn’t even make it to the subway down the street before it began raining. and by rain, i mean pouring rain. and so there we were, day 2. running in our dresses (we intentionally dressed up for the day), ruining our hair, trying to find a place that sold umbrellas. determined to bring our own sunshine.
that weekend i learned there are two ways to look at things.
you could see it at face value for the disaster it was, or you could view the weekend for all it was worth. and the thing about them is that they’ll always choose the latter. they make the best of things. they take their bad luck in stride and laugh at it anyways. they don’t take themselves too seriously and always make the most out of every moment. despite all of the bad things that tried to ruin their weekend, they filled our days with laughter, silliness, and love. we golfed in the pouring rain and cracked jokes on our 90 minute subway ride back and forth to the airport. we decided to sleep later. we cancelled all of our old plans and made new ones. they held hands on a ferry ride to the statue of liberty. they kissed on the brooklyn bridge. they hugged in times square.
and like all things in life, the rain cleared up.
on a saturday, right before sunset, i witnessed one of the most amazing people i’ll ever know make a promise. on a bridge, in the middle of central park-away from the busy streets, i saw my friend get down on one knee. with the air fresh and crisp like it always is after a good rain, i listened to onlookers cheer and applaud the newly engaged couple. and with tears running down our face, we cheered glasses full of champagne to their future.
in four short days i learned that the only thing better than a perfect weekend is an imperfect one. i learned that the laughter can improve the most frustrating of situations and that where you are isn’t as important as who you are with. i was reminded of the fact that sometimes the best plan is no plan and that bad starts don’t have to mean bad endings. i learned that the only way to handle lost luggage, $280 dollars worth of wasted taxi rides, and a weekend full of pouring rain is with people you love.
today was meaningful because they are forever.