Josna Rege

360. Friends

In blogs and blogging, people, reflections, Stories, women & gender on April 8, 2016 at 1:00 am

MyLorgan (Youtube)

                                                                    MyLorgan (Youtube)

Blogging from A to Z
  Theme: Bringing Me Joy

FYou have made a plan to get together. Arriving on time at the appointed place, you start looking around for a glimpse of him or her. Then you catch sight of each other from afar, each hurrying purposefully towards the other, and the surrounding crowds blur and fade into the background. Your face breaks out in a huge ear-to-ear grin; in fact, you’re smiling all over. You are in the presence of your dear friend.

I hope I don’t take my friends for granted. Having moved so many times in my childhood and early teens, I’ve largely missed those lifelong friends going all the way back to infancy, so the ones I do have are all the more precious to me. In the world we live in, your childhood best friend, even if you are still in touch, is liable to live thousands of miles away, so your tea dates must perforce be virtual ones. But when you do have a friend you can call on the spur of the moment to ask what she’s doing, and she says, Nothing, why don’t you come over? I’ve just put the kettle on, you are indeed fortunate. Or a friend whom you can call—again on the spur of the moment, and say, I need a little getaway, can I come and sleep over? And she replies, When can you get here? You arrive on her doorstep with your contributions toward dinner, which you cook and eat together, and she has borrowed a pile of videos from the library for your review, which you eventually settle down to watch. But first, during, and after, you talk and talk and talk. And your friend, even if she is tired, shows infinite patience.

There are friends on other coasts and continents; who drop you a line just to say they’re thinking about you, proposing a Skype date across six time zones; who drop everything to lend you an ear, no matter how much grading they’ve got to get through that night; who send you photographs of their luxuriant gardens when your own is frozen solid or wall-to-wall weeds; who post links to stirring songs that carry you back and launch you forward.

Friends from different times and places of your life have shared intimate experiences that continue to bind you closely together no matter how many years or miles separate you. You shared a secret language and wrote notes to each other in it; made pacts to wear matching outfits for a month; went to your first anti-war demonstration arm in arm. In graduate school, you called each other late at night, desperate to come up with an assignment for class the next day; studied for your qualifying exams together; read and re-read chapters of each other’s dissertations. You entered motherhood together, straining organic vegetables and scouring thrift stores for 100% cotton all-in-ones, sharing bedtime and sleep strategies, worrying about the pernicious influences of television and schooling. Later, when miles upon miles separated you, you wrote long letters, later emails, to each other, and saved them all.

I call my one of my two dearest friends in California at bedtime Eastern Standard Time, their evening, Pacific Time. We ask each other whether we have taken exercise, meditated, gotten enough sleep. They pray for me. We send each other successful recipes, Netflix recommendations, student essays so unspeakable that we haven’t a clue how to respond.

During my sabbatical in 2014 I visited an old friend in England—who does go back to my infancy, but whom I hadn’t been able to meet for several years. As she met me at the railway station she asked, How long do we have? Twenty-four hours, I replied. Right, she said; let’s make the most of it. And we sure did.

Although we do the best we can to span the distance between us, nothing beats the golden times we get to be together in person. Thanks to all my friends, who bring me joy, and try to knock some sense into that hard head of mine.

Here are some songs to friends and friendship:
You’ve Got a Friend — James Taylor and Carole King (Winter, spring, summer or fall/All you have to do is call/And I’ll be there/You’ve got a friend)
Precious Friend — Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie (You bring me hope/Not just the old soft soap)
Make New Friends and Keep the Old (Girl Scout song)
Say Say My Playmate (girls’ clapping song)

Tell Me Another (Contents to Date)

Chronological Table of Contents

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  1. Beautiful piece, and a good reminder of what really matters in life!

    • Thank you! And you’re so right. Easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of life, and let these precious relationships languish and lapse.

  2. Lovely.The Joy of Friends and Family those who make your heart smile when your ears hear them or your eyes see them.Our wedding song (Circa 1976) People by Barbra Streisand.

  3. What a lovely post to friendship! Made me kind of tear up thinking back. I should go write someone a long letter. If I didn’t have to get started on “H”…
    Finding Eliza

    • Thank you, Kristin. I too owe a number of letters to friends and extended family members. What prodigious letter-writers people were in earlier years–if they had literacy and leisure, of course.

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