We gathered early evening, every woman bringing food – three kinds of hot soup, a big salad, breads and veggie dishes and all kinds of snacks. The ten of us have been friends for years, and we know each other's dietary needs. "Don't worry – this is vegan," Makes Bread said to me as she set her crockpot on the counter. "I brought feta made from soy," Gorgeous Eyes announced. By the time everyone had arrived, the floor near the door was piled with duffle bags and sleeping bags, and the table was crowded with food and piles of CDs.
A pajama party is one of the best ways to combat the February blues.
For the first couple of hours, we milled about in the kitchen, all eating and talking, catching up on news, most of us jazzed from the stress of the week. The meals that I share with this group of friends are always amazing: Makes Bread is a dietician, Gorgeous Eyes owns a health food store, and Quilt Artist cooks intuitively, turning something simple like squash soup into a work of art. When we could eat no more, we gathered by the fire, relaxed, ready to sink into deeper conversations. Of course, not all the conversations were deep and meaningful: some were silly. This group of friends are able to go from serious to hilariously funny in about ten seconds flat. We discussed everything from the Stockholm Syndrome to pug bowling to the Saturday Night Live clip "A Dick in a Box."
Gradually, the high energy chatting gave way to a quiet contentment. Signing Woman gave Dark-haired Woman a massage. The fire had heated up the room enough for everyone to begin stripping off their heavy sweaters, snuggling into the comfy couch. When we saw signs that a few of our friends were getting sleepy, Long Beautiful Hair and I took matters into our own hands, took control of the boombox, and pushed back the furniture. It was time for dance music.
In the dim room, with candles burning on the window sills and flames from the fireplace reflecting from the window panes, we twirled and shimmied and bounced to the music. We teased Dark-haired Woman for knowing the words to one of the corniest songs; we cranked up songs that many of us haven't heard in a few decades. How good it felt to move to music, releasing all kinds of tension stored in our bodies. We agreed later, as we talked by the fire, that dance deprivation is a problem in our culture.
After midnight, we settled back onto the pillows and cushions, and the conversation grew more intimate. "I've been waiting all week to tell you this story," Long Beautiful Hair said, shaking her hair out of her eyes and we all leaned forward eagerly. We were all tired by then, but we stayed up late anyhow, luxuriating in the each other's company, eager to confide in each other. By the time we finally went to bed, the beeswax candles had burned down to the bottom of the glass containers. Stars shone above the snowbanks outside as I drifted off to sleep.