Madge

Magdalena Sapphire Victoria Josephina.

She had the personality to carry such a huge name, but was down to earth enough to be simply Madge. Like Ruth, this friendship was suppose to fizzle out, but the Lord had other plans. Madge had a Type A personality that made most Type A’s take a step back. I am meek and mild when standing next to Madge. She would mistake my quiet demeanor for weakness. I’d spend the next 20 years proving her wrong.

We were partners at a summer job. It went great, as long as Madge called the shots. The moment I stepped up to the plate, she’d have to one-up me or add to it somehow. Despite this, I let her run the show. I knew she had my back when Madge helped me get an infestation of ants out of my bunkhouse bed in the middle of the night. And then, I was transferred to another position because she complained about my personality to management.

It turned out we attended the same university. We only hung out once, as she shunned college life outside of class.

After college, she lived near-by and we’d bond over our young professional lives. Madge moved to Europe; myself and another friend met up with her for a European adventure. This was one of the worst trips I’d ever taken: Madge’s domineering ways made me feel like an insolent child and I eventually gave up trying; things went much smoother when I kept my mouth shut. I’ve never done another trip with her and I probably will not ever again.

Simonne, you’re probably thinking, Madge sounds like a real drag, why did you stay friends with her? The Lord kept us together for a reason.

Madge moved back to the USA and landed near DC. A familiar face on the east coast, she was beginning to mellow out and as our adult life took off, we began to lean on each other for support. Those personality defects that were opposite of our own? They were what was needed in our own lives.

The phone rang once and when I answered, the voice on the other end said, “You will not believe how much sex I have had in the past 24 hours.” This could only be Madge. While I wasn’t a shining example of sexual purity, Madge slept around. A lot. We had a long conversation when she got a STD from a married man. While we both had common sense, Madge tended to fall down rabbit holes I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole.

I do have a lot of Type B personality traits, sometimes I don’t speak up when I should and my fear of rocking the boat has put me at a disadvantage at times. No worries, I have Madge, who is more than willing to call me out on my avoidance.

We fill the voids the other one has.

Madge called me once when her husband was admitted to a psychiatric ward, completely in tears and not coping well. I drove up that weekend to comfort her and be there. She had a conflict with a friend at work, who suddenly stopped speaking to her, and we talked it through: chances are, Madge’s aggressive behavior pushed her away. I called her when things got rocky in my marriage: and when she stayed with us for a weekend, Madge confirmed it wasn’t in my imagination and I needed to say/do something about it right this very minute. She takes the time to ask me the hard questions and doesn’t let me get away with, “Oh, it’s fine.” She loves hard and her brutal honesty is needed in my life.

Madge’s house was my hurricane evacuation plan, and she was very upset we chose to stay. The constant text and phone calls of “Your life is in danger, get your butts and your cats’ butts up here” were a par for the course. Even though she comes across tough as nails, Madge cares a lot and will do anything to help someone else.

She had a rough year of changes and I made her a quilt for her birthday. She loved it.

I got a card from her not long ago, thanking me for our friendship over the years. Despite our stark differences, when we get together, we have great conversations and it’s always a good time. I know our friendship has limitations, and that’s okay. We help each other be the best person we can possibly be.

I’ll keep her calm and she can kick my butt out of complacency.

Sensitive

It’s taken me years to admit this, but here goes.

I am sensitive.

To people. To emotions. To spiritual stuff.

The scientist in me rules with logic, head over heart, in all things. I grew up in a very rational household and I mostly ignored my sensitive nature. I wrote it off as coincidence or being overly emotional about something and thus refuting logic.

“There’s a perfectly logical explanation for this!” This was the line I’d always use. Even our emotions are simply the result of chemicals in the brain between receptors and transmitters.

As I grew older, I grew more sensitive. I’m really uncomfortable with where I am now. I’m mostly sensitive to people – so much so that the zombie movies my husband watches with babies crying and people being tortured – I have to leave the room, put on headphones, and try to focus elsewhere. It upsets me too much.

It happens often, but I had trained myself to ignore it. When my friend David introduced me to his future wife, within 5 seconds of meeting her, I didn’t like her. She smiled and was kind – I had no reason to dislike her. But I just didn’t. I never said anything because there was nothing concrete to say. Fast forward a few years, she ordered me to never contact her family and ended up leaving David for a man she met on the internet. She was a super rat of the highest order.

I’ve had feelings about marriages too, some marriages I knew wouldn’t last. Again, I kept my mouth shut because there was no hard facts I could put in a Power Point presentation. Some of the marriages imploded with casualties; others are still intact, and if their social media feeds are any indication, they’re happy. But I don’t know how they really are without the filters. I’m not infallible by any means. And marriage is hard at times.

A learned man started coming to our church. He frightened me. Everyone thought he was the bees knees, but something told me to stay away, so I kept my distance. Soon he was making outrageous accusations (due to mental illness) about certain members of our church, which of course were false. He eventually left, but the damage was done. One of the homeless guys that comes to our church just shook his head. “I told y’all that guy was nothing but trouble.” I knew it too. But I stayed silent. No one asked me.

When we bought our house, I didn’t like it at all and the guest room especially bothered me. Whenever I walked in there, it was heavy. There was a weight on my chest and I didn’t want to be in there. I think sometime bad happened in there. My husband never felt anything. I told my pastor about it and he came over to bless the house. Since then, whatever was there is gone.

When I get feelings about things, they come to me. I can’t seek them out. I don’t have the gift of prophecy, but a friend once said I have the gift of discernment. I have a nose for sniffing out fake people; within a few minutes of meeting someone, I can get a pretty good read on who they are.

In the psychological world, I am considered an empath. I mirror those around me.

I knew my husband was in a lot of pain the other night, as he slept. I asked him about it in the morning, since he never mentioned it to me, and he was stunned I knew.

I don’t know why the Lord equipped me with this wacky gift. I’m not sure how to use it and sometimes sharing it can cause others pain. But I have a feeling (oh the puns!) that this skill set is being fined tuned and will somehow be useful in the days to come.

It happened again earlier this summer: my sister and her husband were trying for a baby. I knew it at once: “You’ll get pregnant right away,” I told her. And she did. First try. My mom is worrying about losing the baby in the first trimester. I assured her it will be carried to term.

I just have this feeling.