After AmeriCorps, I moved to Minneapolis to begin law school. Naturally, J moved to Hawaii (the big island) to farm coffee. He originally had no shelter, but did have some dirt on which to place his sleeping bag and an endless supply of bananas, mangos, and papayas. He soon made nice with the local rat who often liked to sneak up on him in the dark. What a scamp. Eventually, J wised up and realized that the way he was living was ridiculous. So, like anybody in that situation would do, he chopped down some bamboo and built a hut. That's just how he rolls.
I hadn't seen J since our time with AmeriCorps until this morning. As we enjoyed our waffles and more at Waffles n' More, he shared with me the next big adventure that he had in the works. Afterward, I drove J back to his apartment in one of the most drug-riddled areas in town. I watched as he grabbed a can of warm Hamm's from my console and attempted to slip it into his backpack unnoticed. We took a couple pictures, gave a couple hugs, and then I got into my car. As I drove away, I soon noticed that I was smiling, just like I normally do when I think of J.
I liked seeing her. I like her both as a friend and and as a mother to her children. It was fun to watch her interactions with her daughters. I sometimes forget that kids need to be coaxed into eating cheese or reminded not to pick the scab off of their mother's arm. E has not forgotten these things and I got a kick out of that.
I'm starting to feel like I'm being repetitive in my words, or at least in my thoughts, but I sincerely wish the best for E. I hope that her husband gets the promotion. I hope that her family gets the bigger house. I hope that her third daughter is just as lovely as the first two (E & K, right?). I hope that she finds peace with her weird family relationships (I can say that because I have them too).
And I hope that some morning not long from now, somebody takes her to Shari's for pie and ice cream.
My purpose here is not to disparage my wonderful father-in-law but rather to state that if I were to make a similar list, it would definitely include a librarian. And while I don't have a librarian in the family, I am happy that I can now confidently state that I have a librarian as a friend.
J and I had an English class together back in our university days. It was my absolute favorite English class, but to this day, I can't find anybody else that cared for it. Oh well. For the most part, that was the extent of our interactions. That class was in the spring of 2006.
Almost eight years since the last time I'd seen her, we met at one of the many new coffee places in our college town. We sat outside. It was a perfect spring day on the Palouse. We talked about a lot of different things. It was easy, unforced, and sometimes even a lot of fun. I wondered why we weren't friends the first time around. Maybe I wasn't open to making new friends. Maybe I just didn't know how to make new friends. Maybe she found my long hair to be hideous and off-putting (It wasn't, by the way). Whatever the case, our encounter provided me with some things to think about and, perhaps more importantly, the chance to do it all over again, to make things seem a little more right this time around, and to finally be the friend that I could've been eight years ago.
L is pretty open with the details of her life. She told me about her past, both the good, the bad, and the painful. She stated that I could write about anything and everything that we had discussed. At the time, I expected to do just that. But now that I've began to gather my thoughts, I don't think it's necessary. My takeaway from my time with L is not that in her life, she experienced x, y, & z, though those things were really fascinating. Rather, I was reminded that a person can be so much more than what I may have ever imagined.I am beginning to notice a common theme. Meet up with a Facebook friend, have a perfectly enjoyable time with them, then wonder why we had never spent any significant amount of time together before now.
For the most part, we were friends of a friend. We had a good time talking about nothing important, including roofies. When we parted ways, I thanked her for meeting up with me. Still, I couldn't help but worry that my thanks were inadequate.
I'm very aware that I went through a decent amount of trouble to arrange to meet with five Facebook friends today. I miss my home a little and I miss my wife terribly and I'm missing them both just so that I can be on the road and have these adventures with my Facebook friends. But I also recognize and appreciate what my Facebook friends are doing. Without them, I couldn't be doing what I'm doing. So I'm incredibly thankful to K that, in response to a last-minute message from a long-lost Facebook friend, she was willing to take a chance, do something a little weird, and help me make great memories. I hope that she realizes this.