The relationship had fallen into a flavorless menu of the weather, the kids, and the effects of the economy on our respective lives.
When we needed something spicier, we peppered our infrequent conversations with a little armchair wisdom based in the perceived maladies -- both physical and mental -- of our parents.
My eyes rolled by habit when I described her in casual conversation...oh, we're SO different.
I imagined she did much the same...Her? Well, we just don't have very much in common.
But really? We have each other.
When we each separately, as independent adults, got The Call from our folks letting us know they had filed for divorce after 28 years of marriage, we intimately conspired to meet just about halfway from ground zero to get our sibling ducks in a row before meeting with them.
She always made her disdain for him clear. I never gave her credit for her fierce loyalty to me.
Approaching 30 and on my own for the first time since age 19, she hosted me in her small-town resort community and then held my hair while I prayed to the porcelain god of relief as an unpracticed victim of The Power of Tequila.
When I was stuck in a dead-end casual relationship and needed her unabashed, high-energy social influence, she came out to visit me for a girls weekend of epic proportion.
Four months after she gave birth to her first child, I asked her to travel many miles with her husband and infant son to stand at my side -- for a second time -- as I vowed in sickness and in health to love and support the right man. And she did, no questions asked.
Then...the long, cold winter. The season of our discontent.
Almost 5 years between visits, a time when we called it good to trade gift cards at Christmas and lazily swirl our flavorless, decaf sibling coffee into a non-descript shade of mellow tan on a decidedly irregular basis.
We did reconnect here in Schaererville a few years ago...but we were still so different.
Her boys wanted to ride our redneck ATVs in the cul-de-sac. She screeched at them to slow down and GODDAMMIT WEAR THOSE HELMETS!
I wanted to hike. She made us wait an extra hour because she had to re-paint her toenails.
We threw burgers on the grill, wanting to relax on the deck and enjoy the sunset. She asked when we'd be heading downtown to the clubs.
So different, and the flavor hadn't changed a bit.
Until the message a few weeks ago...the one that said, "Hey, call me when you have a minute. I have some not so good news to share."
And with that, the recipe no longer mattered. We had each other. The journey ahead would depend on that.