Teriyaki Green Beans

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'” C.S. Lewis

I have two lifelong friends, Peggy and Priscilla. It’s difficult to come into a relationship (especially with three girls) and be the third wheel. I never felt that way with these two girls. My family and I moved to Lynn Ranch in the third grade. Peggy, Priscilla and I were eight years old when I met them. Peggy lived five houses down from my house and Priscilla lived on the next street over. We became friends instantly and we were inseparable for the next ten years.

Their dads and my mom were all in the car business. All of us had parents who were divorced. We all had live-in housekeepers who were also our babysitters. We lived in similar sized houses. We attended the same school and socialized with the same people. Needless to say, we had a lot in common.

We grew up together and spent almost every day of the next ten years with each other. We built intricate forts, rode horses, pretended to be “Charlie’s Angels” on our matching banana seat bikes, met boys, and got into trouble. Even though my mom sent me off to private school for high school (something I tried desperately to fight), we remained close. I went to their school parties and they went to mine. We learned how to drive, got jobs, developed serious relationships with boys and went to college together.

When we were little, we used to talk about how we would live together when we grew up. We imagined a life in Las Vegas. Priscilla’s father used to drive us to Las Vegas every once in a while. We always stayed at the Circus Circus Hotel. Our dream was to move to Las Vegas and become showgirls one day. We’d make a lot of money and buy a house for the three of us to live. We’d be showgirls for a while and then retire in a few years. We’d sell up and maybe live in Hawaii. We had everything planned out.

When I was accepted to UCSB, we all moved to Santa Barbara together. We lived in an apartment for a while. It was pretty amazing. I loved being with them. They were both like my sisters. Sure, we fought. Sisters fight. It didn’t matter, though, because our love was unconditional. I never doubted that we would remain friends forever.

Several years have passed since that fateful meeting in the third grade. Hah! Several? More than 30 years have gone by. After college, I lost touch with them for five years. We all got married, moved to different states, and just lost track of each other. I thought about them all of the time. At one point, I was going to hire a private investigator to figure out where they were. I couldn’t stand not knowing what they were doing.

Then, Claud and I moved to Las Vegas. Daphne was two and Jack was one. I didn’t know anyone in Vegas. One day, the phone rang. It was Priscilla on the other end of the line. She was living in Las Vegas too and only about two miles away from where we were living. What were the chances? Neither one of us were showgirls. I told her to get into her car immediately and to get over to my apartment. She did. We hugged for a long time and cried a little. She had Peggy’s number. We picked up the phone and called her.

Now, here we are, all raising teenagers. Luckily, Peggy and Priscilla had their kids a while before I did. So, I have them to ask for advice. They have gone through pretty much everything I am going through right now with my teens. It’s so nice to have friends who make you realize you are not the only one thinking these things, experiencing this stuff and feeling this way.

This weekend, Priscilla came over for dinner with her daughter and her husband. I wanted to cook something really nice for all of us. This was also the last weekend of a concert series Daphne has been performing in here in Las Vegas. My parents came out from Los Angeles to come to the final concert too. So, it was a celebration for Daphne as well. Since Daphne loves fish, I decided to make salmon with green beans and potatoes. I usually don’t even like green beans. So, when I make them, I try to do something to change the flavor of the green bean. I think I have finally perfected this technique.

I marinated them in teriyaki sauce first. Then, I browned some sesame seeds and garlic in olive oil. The beans roasted in the oven for a while until I took them out and smothered them in the seeds, garlic and more teriyaki sauce. I like how they retained a bit of crunchiness. They were the perfect accompaniment to the salmon. We all sat around the table eating and talking about old stories. The only thing missing this time was Peggy. We’ll get her over soon.

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