Dinner with an old friend

We sat down together on the outside deck, shady from the big trees, and prayed. My friend’s husband of just a few months asked God to bless the food and bless us, too. Then we ate. My friend-since-preschool scooped me a hot pepper stuffed with cheese, and later we had the grilled steak and asparagus. She cooked, and he grilled. We talked, laughed and enjoyed our food together outside in the summer air. When we finished we took everything inside, and my friend brewed us a fresh pot of coffee. She poured it into two beautiful little mugs—one of which she gave me earlier for my birthday present— and served it with cream and sugar. Over coffee we talked, smiling and laughing and savoring the sweet drink. We dipped blueberry scones in it. That tasted divine. How odd it was to see my friend bustling around her kitchen with her new husband. How strange that just yesterday it seems we were bustling between our eighth grade classes and shooting rubber bands at boys. How strange that in some time and space that defies labels we somehow both grew up, she becoming a hair stylist and I a writer. Will time, I wondered, continue on like this—strange as can be and leaving me in its wake, watching….wondering what happened? Writing is very nearly the closest we’ll ever come to stopping it. With words, we freeze time—make it stretch out long and lithe like taffy to our heart’s wishes. But even in the strangeness of seeing my childhood friend as a grown woman in her grown-up house, I felt also incredibly happy for her because I’d rarely seen her so happy.  I felt that deep down stomach joy that bubbles all the way up and through to the tips of your fingers. She was being loved here in this place by this caring, good man, being romanced every day by someone who pledged himself to her forever and ever, who said, “I do.” I left that night feeling life much more fully than when I had walked in, heavy from a long day’s worth of work. Friendship is one of those indescribable things—moments perhaps when two people agree completely on things, a coming together—that makes life feel not so lonely and cold but rather full and warm and wonderful.

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