Today was not only a much needed birthday lunch get-together for my group of gals but a sumptuous slice of cake. The first beautiful bite was finding a perfect parking space one block from the restaurant that used to be my twice-weekly pit stop of leisurely lunching and is now a barely bi-annual drive by where I can spare an hour and guiltily graze like a Holstein cow at a Hawaiian Luau.
The next chunk of the death by chocolate butter cream was getting to go away for a few hours and reliving my younger years eating butter-drizzled croissants, discussing the latest fashion stylings of the youthful drug-riddled jet set of Hollywood and feeling as young as I did when tequila was one of my BFFs and my body hadn’t been mutilated by childbirth and sleeplessness.
Then, I assaulted the next layer of fluffy gooey goodness with a scrumptious and satisfying star sighting of Elizabeth Berkeley (Saved By The Bell and Show Girls!) sitting at a small table to my left while on her laptop writing a script. And as if on cue, Minnie Driver arrived moments later carrying a fringed Bottegea Veneta handbag that looked like what the vagina of a Snuffleupagus might look like if, indeed, the hairy, child-friendly beast was a lady monster. Add to that bite of brilliance the fact that Minnie then air kissed Elizabeth’s newly built face with a half-hearted, accented double cheeked European number and walked away with her orange Pashmina swaying in the brutal breeze of unemployment. I truly thought that that was the last possible dab of delicious I could possibly consume.
But then once again, I picked up my friendly utensil in crime, scraped a layer of the chocolate Ganache frosting off the top of this magnificent afternoon and really got to see a group of great girls sitting around catching up about the lives that we drive in the fast lane and the kids that fill us with unleaded joy. We ate at a snail’s pace without a sippy-cup to fill or a boob to whip out, save for one mom with a super easy baby who is just not hard to look at or to squeeze.
And just when I thought the yummy crumbs that I so unattractively licked up would make my stomach bust out of my low-waist Levi Skimmers, a pair of trendy jeans that I paid a small fortune for, so as to feel more relevant and alive as I inch toward middle age, I realized that the best part of the cake was across the table on someone else’s plate. The cherry on top, the icing as it were, the sweetest bite of this layered lusciousness was the birthday girl herself. There, in a gaggle of collected craziness, we sat celebrating the first day of the fortieth year of a divinely, delicious peach named Georgia. She was ripe with relaxation, leaking with new motherhood (literally covered in breast milk from a pump and drive debacle) hilarious in her self-deprecation and positively beaming with buoyancy and beauty. She was my GG, the girl I fell in love with all those years ago, the girl I laughed with, cried with and above all, fought for.
The last morsel that I thought I could possibly shove into my greedy pie hole was the feeling that she left me with today, the feeling of overwhelming love, accomplishment, understanding and survival. We had made it through, she and I, and were both better off for it. And after all the goodbyes and last minutes anecdotes of our sanity-chasing sewing circle we walked down the street together as if no time had past since our first date at the same celebrity-littered French patisserie all those springs before. As we stood on the street corner snapping the last of the photos to document the inevitably cruel crawl toward an AARP gold card membership, we laughed just as hard as we had during those lazy, Malibu summers and childless, ladies lunches so long ago, smiling as if no cares could ever sit atop our older shoulders.
As I hugged her goodbye, feeling filled to my brim with tasty terrific-ness, she pulled away and threw a handful of Valrhona chocolate sprinkles all over my day, gilding the lily with loveliness. With an infectious smile and the sincerity of an Ivy League valedictorian on graduation day, she told me how awesomely hot and skinny I looked in my denial denims I so desperately donned. It may have been her birthday but I got the best slice of birthday cake, frosting flowers and all.
I heart you, GG.