Lunch with a friend.
Yesterday I met up with someone I haven’t seen for at least 15 years. This friend shared the ups and downs and woes and worries of high school. This friend sat beside me in home room and discussed poetry and compared our collective tragedies to great literature. This friend helped me navigate the social quandaries of high school. We attended the same college, though our paths didn’t cross as frequently.
Life took us in opposite directions. Decades past are far from the realities of now. Geography played a factor, too. California is far from here.
But I knew.
It would be easy.
Here’s the thing about me … I would probably become a hermit if left to my own devices.
I despise talking on the phone, though texting and e-mail fill me with ease and allow me to express myself completely. I don’t like to take center stage, reason enough to appreciate the large bouquets of flowers on the piano at church. I can hide behind them while accompanying the congregation.
I love deep, soul-searching conversations with close friends and relatives … but I have to have a connection with them. I have to know them and trust them and feel safe enough to share my inner workings. I love making new friends … but until I know someone well and trust them completely I don’t suppose they get the genuine, take-me-as-I-am me.
Which is why I write.
This? This is me … unabridged, unaffected by social angst. Want to know me? Read me. I know … it’s a character flaw. Thankfully, I’m at the age where I can stop trying to make myself be someone I’m not and embrace the weird, slightly paranoid person I am. Bring on the gray hair and rocking chair … I’m becoming Maxine.
But humor me … I’m walking around in a hug.
As my friend said, “We sat in a restaurant for three hours and it felt like 15 minutes.”
And then it was time to head home.
I passed my father-in-law’s place on the way. The sky seemed more vibrantly blue. The fields, now harvested, looked as though they had been washed clean and hung out to dry in the cool breeze of a sun-warmed November day.
The cows were happy and content, eating grass and making milk for 6 p.m.
I’m happy and content, too. Nearly 25 years ago I made a friend and shared my deepest secrets, woes and triumphs with him. Though age and circumstance and life have kept us apart, our meeting was like coming home. It was rediscovering someone who knew me as I was, accepts me for who I’ve become and welcomes me whenever.
Yesterday was a gift.
Every day could be.
All we have to do is open our hearts and eyes and souls to the beauty all around.
And, um, try not to succumb to our hermit-type tendencies.