"She is not one of us; she is not like us. She might make the unfortunate blunder of taking you seriously."
~ Kate Chopin, The Awakening
Last night as I lay awake waiting for sleep, I thought about friendships, how they begin, what kicks one off. I thought about how much I remember about meeting some people and how others seem to have always been part of my life with no clear beginning. Sometimes I remember the exact words I said/she said at the first meeting.
Me: I hear you know UNIX.
Me: From the way Kate described you, I expected to see a Valkyrie warrior.
Me: You give good hugs!
Her [quoting T. S. Eliot]: I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
Me [right back]: In the room the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo.
Me [to receptionist]: Would you tell Terry there’s a gray-haired woman wearing purple Birkenstocks in the lobby?
Her: I knew we wanted to hire you when it was clear in the interview that you didn’t know what an operating system was.
Her: Hi, I'm Mona.
Me: Hi, I'm Verna
Me: I’m Lisa’s mother.
Her: I’m Chris’ mother.
Me: Julie says you’re a writer.
Her: Want to play hopscotch?
Her: [Long stare in the hallway at new job.]
Me: [At newbie training, I sit as far from her as I can.]
Her: So you’re Verna.
Do you ever wonder how some people came to be in your life? Did you meet them at work? At school? Through your kids? Did you always know which ones would stay and which would fade when one of you changed or moved on? I have two friends I met in high school, and we still have common interests. I have one friend I met when we were nine years old, and we stay in touch through cards and an occasional phone call, our interests very different.
My oldest daughter was here last night, in town to pick up her husband’s kids and drive them back to Kansas for a visit. We never have trouble finding things to talk about. Same with my younger daughter. It’s as if we’ve grown up together, making the necessary adjustments to stay close through life’s various upheavals. And that’s what really good friends do—ride the waves with each other, make mistakes, get mad, go away, come back, repeat until—well, forever, if we’re lucky—if there’s enough time.
From The Love Song ofJ. Alfred Prufrock
T. S. Eliot
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.