Monday, August 20, 2007

The shorthand of friendship

I feel like I ought to write about our trip to the seaside yesterday for proper Sunday dinner. About the train ride, the lunch, the pints drunk before and after walking on the rocky sea shore. About the rocks collected for Betty - she loves rocks - and about the pouring rain, which somehow made it all feel so very British.

I have this documented with photos. As if nobody would believe the downpour on our Sunday beach outing.

But what I want to write about is friendship.

Dan bought The Last Song of Dusk for Maude because one of my readers recommended it. And gave it to me for my birthday. All the other books she liked were books they like, and so Dan thought, well, Maude might as well read it too, and then she and Lisa can talk about it.

How cool is this?

So this led Maude and me to talk about my blog. She said that initially she she felt like the Lisa she was getting through LG wasn't her Lisa. It was, well, maybe a public Lisa. In any case, a different one. Not unappealing, just different. And this bothered her.

And then she realized that she gets a different Lisa from most people, is the thing of it.

And it made me realize how lucky I am to have friends who are closer than close. I don't just mean who know preferences, like what kind of English beer you're going to like based on your love of Sierra Nevada or what you're going to choose on the menu before you even know, or how you're going to react when faced with a particular choice or situation.

Not to say that these aren't indications of close - they are.

But I'm talking close as skin close. Some of this is the product of years and years of proximity. And some of it is the luck, or fate, or whatever it is, of meeting up with people whose souls somehow resonate with yours.

I am talking about the closeness of people, the very few and far between people, who know what the look on your face means, even when you try to hide it. They know, by glancing in your eyes, when you've gone deep inside yourself, and know the instant you come back, even if you were only gone for 30 seconds. And you are walking side by side, not sitting face to face.

You can feel, across a room, their rising impatience. Or see, in the way they walk toward you, some slight disappointment. You might experience their relief as your own. You actually feel a shift in energy, a ripple in the fabric. These are small, inadequate examples that come to mind, indicative of a larger closeness.

How lucky I am to have this. And how much trust it requires, although after years and years, unless you sit down and examine it, as I'm doing now, you forget that it requires trust. Because it just is. But this kind of closeness, oh it does. It leaves you naked; it leaves you open for hurt.

And so I count myself lucky on this score as well. Because while I've not necessarily made the best romantic choices, my taste in friends kicks ass. If I may say so myself.

I choose amazing friends. Friends who not only have their own fantastic personalities, stories, and talents, but who are relentlessly kind, loving people. At least to the people they know best and value most.

My friendships have always been intense. This is shocking, I know.

While we were having pints after lunch, somehow Maude made the joke of having really rough nipples at this point in her breastfeeding career. And so it turned into this joke of Maude always having had nipples of sandpaper. And men thinking she was hot, but winding up with lips that were rubbed raw, and avoiding her because while they thought she was hot, foreplay with her was just too painful. . .All completely idiotic. And we were cracking ourselves up.

I turned to her British friends and apologized, saying I knew they were never going to want me to come along to a pub, because the last time I'd made them all talk about circumcision, and they were surely afraid of where this might go next.

And they reassured me that no, this was funny, and fascinating, and they were just trying to keep up.

Some of it was accent. But most of it was the spoken shorthand you develop with familiarity, the references to associations to tangential connections to prior experiences.

There is something about the physical and emotional shorthand of friendship and closeness that nothing can substitute for. There is something amazing about not having to explain anything. About being able to laugh (or cry, as the case may be) at the smallest thing, and have the other person be right there with you, no explanation needed.

I feel lucky, so lucky.


  1. This is why I dont have a blog as I could not find a way to express what you just said although I feel it every day.
    I made my group of close friends in college. I am fortunate they are in Texas where my family is so I can either make a side trip to see them or (as in the case this fall) just go to see them and my fam wont be offended that I'm not spending time with the family unit.
    When I left to Texas to head east I was very worried I would not find that again but lo and behold someone was smiling down and I have now made some freinds of the same caliber of the Texas clan.
    I am very lucky indeed.
    When I am motivated enough to look at my life I realize I may never find true love, get married or even date seriously again.
    And while that would be a nice hole to fill I look back on how lucky I am to have met these people who may as well be blood relatives that I figure if that's all I get that's a lot more than most people.
    (sorry I was so wordy)

  2. Your description gave me goosebumps, what truth! I sent the link to this post to my tribal sisters too and I think you might have a rabid fan club on your hands soon ;)

  3. VVK - Thank you! :)

    Pidomon. No need to apologize. Thank you for sharing.

    Kristin - I'm so delighted you were touched! Thank you!

  4. I was going to say in my comment how exactly you hit this on the nose, but I think not only did you hit it on the nose, but so have your commenters, and thus there's little for me to do but sigh in my own thankfulness for what you all so beautifully summarized.


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