These Women

These women were already smiling on Wednesday before seeing each other just because the seeing and the hugging was going to happen so soon. These women sat in bunches listening to speakers, nodding and noting both to absorb what was said and to encourage the sayers. These women kept careful tabs on each other so that no one would feel left out or lost. These women discussed storytelling, truth, boundaries, race, assumptions, stereotypes, loss, transition, gender, disease, sex, craft, panic, character, and worth. These women quoted movies and songs to each other’s memories. These women cracked each other up with wordplay. These women held warm hands over my abdomen when my ovary was sending its stabbing signal. These women, headstrong, slept in waiting room chairs and window ledges while I lay on a blue leather examination table on the other side of the wall. These women relaxed and let themselves be pulled to a new center. These women blended. These women told each other of beauty. These women believed it.