"Where are you? Why haven't I heard from you?" I knew the panic in my voice couldn't be masked, yet I assumed the brightest one I could. "I have called and called and you haven't returned any of my messages!"
I couldn't remember a time in our friendship when so much time had elasped between our conversations. Even when she left home to attend college or when my marriage took me to another state; we always found time to catch up or at least check in. It wasn't as if we were co-dependent upon one another; we just needed the other's presence to maintain balance. When she married Jai, things changed, though. I chalked it up to newlywed-i-dus initially; but when my bestie ecame evasive about otherwise incidental things, I have to admit that I got a little jealous. Jai didn't approve of our friendship and didn't understand our connection. Juliette and I no longer discussed the best sellers that we consumed like some people binged on chocolate cake. Our weekly wine and cheese girls night was a thing of the past and we hadn't been to the mall in months. I was determined to wait it out and let the novelty of married life wear off. I was certain reality would land sooner or later.
So, when she told me that she and Jai were in the mountains at a well-known ski resort, my optimism soared. Mainly because I knew without a doubt that my friend had to be at the end of her rope. She hated snow. She didn't like being cold. And she had never shared my passion for this particular down hill activity, even t hough she had given it a try just to satisfy her best friend. So, I knew she was up for new experiences. But she had to be calling me for only one reason. She had to be totally miserable and in need of our sisterly connection.
"I'm fine, Bea, really. Jai just wanted a little time away. It's really beautiful here. In fact, I can't talk long. Jai and I are going ice skating shortly."
That's when I knew my pal was in trouble. That was our alarm phrase.
Juliette may have been ready to try new things, but there was one thing she totally detested. Juliette did NOT ice skate.