When we were in the salad days of college, my friends and I were a bit...oh, let's say rowdy. I was in a rebellious stage, and I found me a circle of friends who were equally ready to push boundaries and question authority and find adventure at every turn.
This is particularly true of my girlfriends from Luther, who were quite the band of misfit toys. We were all pretty, smart women with wicked senses of humour, but that's pretty much where the similarity ended. But each of us had a level of eccentricity that set us apart from the crowd, and we found soul mates in each other...someone who wouldn't judge, who would laugh at our jokes, and who would help you sort out a mess in your life without asking how it happened in the first place.
My friend M was one of the wackiest. She looked perfectly normal, even acted pretty normal, but then all of a sudden she'd hit you with a humdinger of a question about sex or love or body functions or a general gross-out topic, and watch for your reaction. As she got to know you, she'd occasionally get quiet in the middle of a conversation, she'd look at you with this gleeful, knowing look and her eyes would melt and she would grasp her heart and say, "WARM SPOT!" This was Mary's way of saying she was overcome with affection...and whatever was happening had to stop immediately to capture the moment and acknowledge her fondness of you.
It was a little unnerving at first. I mean, I come from affectionate people and all, but ours was appropriately timed and placed, not randomly savaging conversations and sessions of tequila shots or general buffoonery. But as I got used to these bouts of overflowing love coming my way, I began to look forward to them. My friends were the same way, and soon we were all stopping conversations midway to say, "WARM SPOT!" More than the champagne showers before heading out for the night, or the long sessions talking smart in the hall, or the endless discussions of how hot Tim Park was (which, by the way, was VERY), or the egging of the ISO house to defend a friend's honor, these declarations of affection became part of our culture and built a bond that has transcended years and distance. People live all over, do all sorts of things, have taken on boyfriends and husbands and same-sex partners (one even married a prominent Republican whose politics vex us to no end), but we still find a heart-lifting joy in each other - regardless of how long it's been since we last spoke.
Maybe it's the time of year...Christmas obviously makes me sentimental...or maybe it's the end of the MBA and figuring out how to continue all of the intense friendships that have developed over the last two years, or maybe it's just that I'm standing still for the first time in awhile and finally getting back into my own head. But I've been overwhelmed by warm spots for my friends and loved ones in the last few days. So I'm stopping the conversation to say:
I can't wait to see you, and I hope you don't mind if I insist on holding your hand a bit longer or lay my hand on your arm or knee when we're chatting. I miss you gobs, and I need to breathe you in for a bit.
You know who you are.