Once in awhile, if you’re lucky, you’ll make a friend for life. And if you’re REALLY lucky, this friend will be like an extension of yourself – the self you WISH you were. You’ll be so close that your likes and dislikes will actually compliment each other’s. You’ll have just enough difference in your taste in men that you’ll (rarely) date the same guy. You’ll always know they’re the one person you can call if you’re feeling down, and you’ll know for certain that they’re the only one who holds the key to making you feel better. Because they always do.
My best friend for 29 years has been Tracy Ott Williams Perez. We met in Austin in 1976 at an X-rated movie (The Opening of Misty Beethoven), which we were attending with our then-boyfriends. How many people have a great, “How did you two meet?” story like this? You could say it was meant to be.
A few months later Tracy & I met again, and ended up talking for hours; discovering we had this in common and that in common. We liked the same things and disliked the same things. We were born 2 weeks apart and looked enough alike to be sisters. And we’ve been best friends ever since – through husbands and boyfriends and children; through the death of both of her parents and my moving away; through fat and thin, through being flush with money and broke on our asses, through times of great joy and times of great pain – giving each other support and encouragement and constructive criticism. We’re rarely been crossways with each other and we’ve never had a fight. I’d say that our friendship is better than most couple’s marriages. It’s certainly lasted longer.
I moved away from Austin and my best friend in 1991 – 15 years after we met. 15 years of growing from the carefree, partygirl 19 year olds we were when we met, to the thirtysomethings we became, complete with homes and husbands careers. Our friendship could have died then – I’d seen it happen a lot; people move away and their old friendships fade to nothing. I’d even done it myself. But Tracy didn’t allow that to happen to us. From the first week after I moved 700 miles away, Tracy called almost every day. She never gave up on our friendship and never let distance get in the way of it. Even now, we talk to each other at least once a week and sometimes as often as 3 or 4 times in one day (especially during election season – we are both hopeless political junkies). We may not actually see each other for months, or an even year at a time, but that never seems like an obstacle to maintaining our friendship.
Now, well into our forties and staring 50 in the face, we’ve matured into gray haired women with (almost) grown children. We are now the women we could never imagine ourselves being back when we were budding adults with smooth skin, smaller hips and no idea what the world held in store for us. It’s been a great journey so far and I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know we’ll share it together no matter what.
I simply can’t do it without her.
Here are some facts about Tracy:
Tracy has 3 degrees
She knows more about English royalty than anyone else I know
She can speak French, Spanish and some Portuguese
Tracy used to own a skirt with King Kong on it.
Tracy’s father was a jazz musician with the Glenn Miller orchestra
Louis Armstrong once dedicated a song to her when she was a little girl
Tracy used to live across the street from the Armadillo World Headquarters
She once lived on popcorn when she was a broke college student
Tracy actually willed the color of her eyes to change from blue to green at age 8, after watching Gone With the Wind (I just learned this fact a couple of weeks ago, which just goes to show that there’s always something new to discover about Tracy!)