To me, they were Ross and Rachel. They seemed destined to stay together forever, a perfect fit, lobsters. That’s why, for the sake of this story, I will call them Ross and Rachel. They were among my first friends when I moved to LA. They were and are creative talents. They had been high school sweethearts from someplace else who moved to LA with the same dreams I had. Jealous type that I was, I thought how much easier it must have been to move to LA with a support system already in place.
Several years ago, they announced to their friends that they were separating. It appeared amicable, but eventually Ross and Rachel decided to divorce. It seemed that their friends were more heartbroken than they were because whenever we all were together, they still seemed, if not a couple, at least, united. Ross and Rachel-ish.
Rachel threw a big party for a milestone birthday. And though they were divorced, living somewhat separate lives, Ross was in attendance. I remember tons of people, tons of alcohol, tons of food. Not long after midnight, I found myself talking to Ross and Rachel in the kitchen, just the three of us. It had been a great party and we were all three feeling the effects of a great party, so to speak. I don’t really remember what we were talking about. Rachel wasn’t at her most lucid, but hey, it was her birthday. One minute, she was sitting at a chair around the kitchen table, nibbling on a chocolate chip cookie, the next minute, she vomited onto the entire plate of cookies. And as I stood there shocked and grossed out, Ross immediately went to her aid. He pulled her long hair back until she stopped throwing up. He wiped her face, cleaned up the mess on the table. I tried to help by cleaning up things that had not been hit directly, but Ross had no such boundary issues. As I pretended to straighten the kitchen, Ross lovingly put Rachel safely to bed. In this moment anyway, she was still his responsibility, and he was going to get her through this crisis, just one of many that they pulled each other through in their many years together.
Relationships are hard and things go on in private that others don’t know about or need to know about. I don’t really remember how Ross and Rachel ended up on Friends. Wasn’t it a little fuzzy as to whether they would get back together or stay together? I remember thinking that they weren’t going to grow old together, at least not in the traditional sense. But like lobsters, there were going to be bound to each other in certain ways.
My Ross and Rachel never got back together, either. They both moved on with their lives with great success, and as far as I know, remain amicable. It’s a happy ending. But I will always think of that night, how they reminded me that love reveals itself in many ways and it’s often more expansive than we realize.