I have a beautiful scarf. It is handwoven of hand-dyed silk threads in rich tones of copper, gold, purple, fuscia, and blue. It is just the right weight to add a little warmth, but not too much. It goes well with black, brown, and blue and dresses up jeans and a sweater (which pretty much describes my wardrobe). I always receive plenty of compliments when I wear it, and I wear it a lot this time of year. There is just one problem with my favourite scarf. It isn't really mine.
Twenty-odd years ago its owner adopted me as a friend. I had known Dawn for a few years, but not well. She was a year behind me in school and was friends with some of my friends. I remember going to some kind of production at the Capitol Theatre and she was there, too. She came up to me afterwards and announced she was pregnant, and thought I would like to know. I'm not sure why she thought I would like to know, but I took it as a gesture of good will, gave her a hug, and told her I was here for her if she needed me.
Dawn was not married or even in a relationship anymore at the time. She was living with her mom, who is a lovely, supportive kind of woman, so Dawn was certainly not alone. We began spending time together, cooking exotic food, going to movies and parties, going for walks and out for tea. And we talked - a lot. She was having a dilemma: should she keep and raise the baby she was carrying, or give her up for adoption. She happened to have some family friends, a couple unable to conceive, interested in an open adoption. If Dawn gave the baby to be raised by this couple, she would be able to be a part of her life without the immense responsibility of raising her alone as a young, single mother. I believe I stayed neutral, and told Dawn that it was her choice and for the rest of her life, so she had better make it for herself. I just asked questions to try and encourage her to consider all sides of the issue. In the end she decided to give the baby to her friends, who let her name it. They added Dawn as a second name.
With the baby safely born and well settled in her home, Dawn decided to carry on with her plans to go to India for a year and volunteer in a Buddhist orphanage. I went off to University in Vancouver, having done with my local college.
A year and a few months later, I got a call. Dawn was back in Canada and wanted to visit me at my brother's rooming house where I was living. It was not a good time for her to come. I was going through a hard time - a very hard time. I was seriously questioning the career path I had chosen for myself, I was finding my living situation very lonely as my brother worked seven days on, seven days off at a group home for troubled teens and had a girlfriend on Vancouver Island so was never home, my boyfriend was in an intense college course and had much less time for sad, confused little me - although he did what he could, and I was considering dropping out of school altogether until I figured out what to do next. Dawn came anyway, and I did want to see her again, but she was not in any better shape than I, in fact she was in worse shape. She had given her baby to another mother to raise because she felt she had so much to do in life, and now, she admitted to me, she was questioning her decision. She was depressed, and desperate to talk about it, but I was depressed, too and too saturated with my own problems to take her troubles on board - I had no room for them, and I was not mature enough at the time to know how to make room.
I remember trying to explain myself to her, but she didn't, or couldn't understand. In fact Dawn started crying and shouting at the same time about how I was shutting her out, didn't care, and then she said those three little words that usually signify the end of a relationship: "You have changed". She left the next day. I saw her a few more times after that and there were gestures of friendship on both sides. When Dawn went again to India she sent me five yards of ivory cream silk, which I later had made into my wedding suit, and we met from time to time when both of us were in our hometown, but it was never to be the same as it had once been.
Somehow, in the middle of everything, I ended up with Dawn's beautiful scarf. I don't remember her giving it to me, I am quite sure she left it with me by accident. Dawn moved away from our hometown and we lost touch, but I have never sent the scarf to her care of her mother because I am afraid that would somehow signify a permanent rejection, like sending an ex all their letters. Rather, even though I love wearing it and think of Dawn every time I do, I would be happy to see her by chance on the street of our hometown some time; I would take the scarf off my own neck and and wrap it around her in acknowledgement of the good times we had together when she needed my friendship and I had what it took to fulfill that need with gladness.