“You know I’m right,” Libby said, speaking more to her glass of wine than the woman sitting across from her. “As much as I hate to be.”
Meredith, her jaws clenched, wanted to argue with her friend, but couldn’t.
The two women had been through a lot together. Classmates and best friends since middle school, they were more like sisters than either’s actual sibling. They had stuck side by side through bad hair decisions, worse boyfriends, tattoos, marriages, and children.
Meredith was there when Libby’s first marriage disintegrated, and Libby helped Meredith come to grips with her daughter’s lupus diagnosis.
Hoping to get her friend to see reason, Libby invited Meredith to dinner, and to talk with her about her latest relationship.
“You told me once that you’d never date anyone who asked you for money,” Libby had memorized a list of bullet points for her intervention. “You said you’d never give up your friends or family for a guy.”
The muscles in Meredith’s neck twitched from the added tension. With her legs crossed, her top foot bounced in time with her irritation, but she stayed silent.
“Okay,” Libby blinked, expecting some sort of rebuttal. “This guy, and I will not say his name, has talked you into completely changing your appearance. He whines whenever you spend time with me, or with Catelyn. She’s your daughter for crying out loud.”
“He doesn’t whine,” Meredith ground out the words.
“Then why do you have to wait for him to go out of town to do anything with me?” Libby leaned across the table, reaching her hand out to her friend.
Meredith crossed her arms over her chest, her fingers tapped in time with her foot.
“Sister-friend, he is stripping you of everything that makes you, you,” Libby was pleading now. “We’ve always been able to be honest with each other, even when it’s been painful.”
Libby got up to change chairs, putting her arm around her tightly wound friend.
“Mere, when Frank and I were going through the worst of the divorce, you were there for me, making me see some hard truths. I’m offering you that now.”
Meredith seemed to collapse in on herself, and quietly began to cry.
“I just don’t want to end up alone,” the words came between hiccups.
“Oh, Sweetie,” Libby said, gathering her friend close. “You’ll never be alone. We’re going to be old cat ladies together, remember?”