I remember the very first moment I saw her. It was the fall of 1985, the first day of my sophomore year of college. She was leaning up against a railing on the front steps of Johnson Hall at UMass Amherst, wearing a bold orange Wheaties sweatshirt and a bright blue beret atop a mass of wild blond curls.
I remember this clearly because my shy then-self was terrified that this fabulously flamboyant woman would be my roommate. As my Dad parallel parked the company van packed to the brim with my security blankets, I dejectedly mumbled, “I bet that’s my new roommate.” And she was, for the next four semesters.
Flash forward 27 years, and here we are, sitting across from each other at a lovely café in northeastern Connecticut. There is a connection and ease with those we are blessed to have shared life with for so long, and this settles in the moment Melissa and I make eye contact.
“You look great,” she smiles. So does she—as stunning as ever, dressed from head to toe in a blue that reminds me of the beret she wore that very first day we met.
At UMass, our dorm room looked out across campus. We used to sit on the windowsill smoking cigarettes out the window, talking for hours about our day, our work, our thoughts, our loves. It’s the same now, only seasoned by the journey of time and years. We talk about eyeglasses. And technology. And finding new paths.
We talk about our old selves and the new-and-improved ones facing each other today. There is a deeper understanding of things, wisdom and humor, and an unspoken acknowledgement of how far each of us have traveled and what we have accomplished over the years.
As I sit across from her, I feel strongly how much she means to me. How I consider her one of my first true friends. How her kindness and joy were great comfort in the turbulence of my college years. How exciting it was see the vivacious strokes of her handwriting on letters and cards that arrived for the 18 years we only connected by mail. How grateful I am to her for so many things, not the least of which was her encouragement that I stop smoking three years ago.
At the café, she hands me a small gift. “It’s a stone of friendship,” she tells me. “It helps you be your true self and speak with your authentic voice.”
Lapis lazuli is considered a stone of universal truth and friendship. The blue stone is reputed to bring about harmony in relationships and to help its wearer be an authentic individual…. This stone is also considered strengthening to mind and body. Lapis Lazuli gives us courage…leads us to self-acceptance.
The stone is a stunning, bright blue, and I can’t help but think that I’ve had the blessings of Lapis lazuli for a very long time before today.
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©2012, Jen Payne
Copyrighted information about Lapis Luzili shared here from: http://www.sobrietystones.com/resources/GemBook/Stones/meanings_gemstones_lapis_lazuli.htm