So it’s my sister-in-law’s birthday today, and for her birthday, she got a house! We’re happy for you, Tiny M. Really.
I met Tiny M when I was managing a bar in Asheville, North Carolina. I was terribly intimidated by my boss, but he had no idea I was frightened of him and that I felt like an impostor, so he was like, “let’s hire you some staff”! So we tag-team interviewed a crap-ton of applicants. There was this couple who came in together and applied (how cute is that?) who had just moved into town. Most everyone who lives in Asheville has just moved into town, by the way. Les and I interviewed them separately like we were interrogating witnesses at the station house-then we switched off. I was scared that the one I interviewed first would tell him some of the stupid crap I was asking, since I had – let’s call them creative – ideas about how to conduct a proper interview. All I knew was that I liked the girl better, and not just because she had blue hair and cool clothes. Weeks later we would spot the Cute Couple wandering past the windows of the NFB, and from behind the bar we would spy on them and gush about the adorable wonder that is Tiny M. “look how cute!” we’d exclaim, “what an awesome hat! Those kids from the west coast are so fashionable!” etc.
I had to move the weekend of our Big Decision, so when Les and I decided who we would hire, he had me make the call. I had to do this in the midst of a move, from the payphone at the gas station down the street. The boyfriend answered and I tried to leave a simple message, but no! “You can just tell me the message”, he said. “We live together, you can just tell me” – Deep breath. “Um, OK, man. Well, we can only hire one person now and we decided on M. Sorry” His shock was audible! I’m serious. He was like, “uh, o-kaaaaay. Well, thaaaanks.” Click.
Tiny M likes to tell the story of how she thought I was kind of aloof (read: bitchy) and she didn’t really know what to think of me (read: I was cold and bitchy) until the day I walked into work wearing my leopard print coat. She said “nice coat!” and I said “I know!” and somehow that didn’t earn me the Bitchiest Remark Ever award and instead earned me a free pass into their circle of friends.
Later we hired her boyfriend J anyway, and they worked at the NFB for a long time after I “quit”.
I’d never had friends that were so much younger than me but were also just as intelligent if not more intelligent than my current circle of friends. I loved having them around, even though early on I gravitated toward Tiny M, who is consistently thoughtful, dependable, and spit-your-drink-out funny. I loved every minute I got to spend with her alone and spent way too much time trying to orchestrate those moments.
Once, when we were going to watch The craptiest Movie Ever Made on Halloween night, she told a hilarious, self-deprecating story about an embarrassing thing that happened in a club in LA, making her brother out to be the Hero of the story. He didn’t even laugh or make fun of her and he totally had her back. “What’s your brother’s name?” I said. “Michael” “Is he cute?” I asked.
From that night until Thanksgiving week, my days were riddled with fantasies of my future as part of her ACTUAL FAMILY. Wouldn’t that be funny, I would think to myself, if I were to meet and fall in love with Tiny M’s brother? Wouldn’t that just be a laugh riot?
And 3 years later I married him, with Tiny M by my side as my MOH. I honestly cannot think of a more wonderful bonus to marrying my full-on soul mate than the sister that came with him.
Over the last few years, I have ached for more time with Tiny M, but life keeps getting in the way. Life keeps pushing us apart, and I don’t tell her often enough how much I miss her and how I didn’t want to trade her friendship for MyM’s love, ever. I want it all, and the moments when I feel close to her are when I feel the absolute most complete, like I truly have everything I could ever ask for.
Tiny M is all grown up now with her Own Life and her Own Husband and everything. We don’t see her as much as we need to, but even from afar she radiates confidence, beauty, grace, humor, and love.
Happy Birthday, Tiny M. We are so proud of you, and I am so, so grateful to know you and to call you family.