Susan: Kathryn is my first audience. I never write a play without reading parts of it to her first. In those moments, the world goes away. She is mine entirely. I never finish writing anything without Kathryn's love of it. And—she always remembers my lines. Need I say more.

Kathryn: I eventually did manage to win a part in a play Suz wrote called Cross Country, and sometimes I think the role of Lois spoiled me forever. She was funny and smart and complicated and truthful. I am simply nuts about my friend's plays. I have crushes on them. I compare all others to them and they always fall short. When I was performing in D.C. this past winter, Suz called and asked me just how important it was that she come down. I shocked both of us by bursting into sobs. I'm there, she said. And she was.

Susan: The first time I performed My Left Breast, at the Humana Festival in Louisville, Kathryn flew out to be with me. She mixed up a magic potion for my hoarse throat, unused as I was to taking the stage. She slept on the couch in my hotel room. And beamed from the audience. It more than made up for the time she announced after seeing a play of mine that it would work better as a piece for The New Yorker.


Kathryn: Can you remember the longest period that we haven't talked to each other?

Susan: A week?

Kathryn: If a week's gone by, I start to think, "Are we in one of those places where you need to tell me something?"

Susan: And I think, "What don't you want to tell me?"


Susan and Kathryn: Sometimes it's not wanting to be so intimately observed. To be caught. Because we're onto each other. As many times as we vow there's nothing that could rend us asunder, still the anxious space between when something bothers us and when we express it to each other is enormous and scary. We both have permission to be anything, to say anything. We know each other's fragile places. And are tender with them.

Kathryn: You're one of the few friends, Suz, whom I walk arm in arm with. We don't do it always, but sometimes. And I think the only other woman I've done that with is my mom.

Susan: So what's the future of us?

Kathryn: That you finish three or maybe five more fabulous plays. That I get to be in each and every one of them. That we dance at our grandchildren's weddings. That we wake up joyful and actually sleep through part of the night. And that we get to become the two older women we can't believe we'll be.

Susan: Walking arm in arm to the movies in the middle of the afternoon. Continuing the conversation.

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