I worked at the Charlottesville Barnes & Noble from 1997-2000, and then Ethan & I moved out to Missoula, MT for 7 years. It was one of my favorite places to work, and still is (worked at the MT one and am now at L'burg). It was at the C-ville store I met Beverly, who managed the receiving department. She was slight, with black hair, black combat boots, black everything. I was on the sales floor but eventually weaseled my way back to receiving. I believe it was an experience with a cruel and possibly senile customer (I had to ask a manager to take over so I could run to the back to cry) that caused me to ask for a change of jobs at the store. (I just cry at everything don't I? But this woman was mean.)
Beverly & I shared a love of everything 90s (do I hear groans?). We brought in cds everyday to help us get into that receiving rhythm and unpack and sort, trying to get to zero box count for our manager Mitch. The Chemical Brothers, Massive Attack, Rob Zombie, Nirvana, Tool -- you get the idea. I think the only thing I didn't like was her cassette of the band Sea Hag. We were still Alternative Nation gals. Tattooed gals. I remember sitting with her for hours while this guy Flash(?) tattooed a Celtic band on her arm. It's funny he was named Flash because he was painfully slow. Really, we were there, like, 6 hours. Leslie was her sister who would come into the store and visit. Leslie was not into all black and I remember her as a gentle spirit, with a thing for Ed Kowalcyzk of the band Live, and she had named a kitten Lakini after one of their songs. I remember thinking they were complete opposites but they were very close, and very funny. They were/are extremely close to their family and very sentimental about their dad, who I met and loved as well.
I was barely in touch with Beverly when we were in Montana, and not in touch with Leslie at all. I saw Beverly once when we flew back with an infant Josie. I had stopped by the B&N once we moved back to VA in 2007 but kept missing her. I knew she had helped manage a farm with her boyfriend Chris, and when that ended had gone back to B&N. I knew that they had bought a piece of land in Madison. Luckily, Leslie was on Facebook, and I caught up with her in the past year or so and she told Beverly about my health "crisis". I'm not sure what else to call it.
Still, when they walked into my room at the hospital I couldn't believe it. I mean, I hadn't been a very good friend to either one through the years. I actually hadn't seen Beverly in 7 years, and Leslie in 10! Beverly brought me her favorite graphic novel (I could always count on her for the cool stuff) House of Mystery. We caught up, Leslie told me about her job working with special needs kids (the most perfect job ever for someone like Leslie, she's so friendly and patient), and Beverly and I took no time blabbing about the last few years. She told me about her Subaru and we commiserated over head gasket problems (there had been a recall, or they would cover the repair, but the time limit was up for Bev's car). It was awesome seeing those sisters. It's another example of people just appearing and coming back into your life when you most need them. (This theme will continue as I talk about more great people.) I am definitely a better person because of it.