On making a new friend

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I wait for her at a table with my matcha latte, and I think about how silly it would be if I happened to get a frothy, green moustache the second she approached. Something tells me this new friend wouldn’t mind though. She would probably laugh with me. I pull out my journal to pass the time, while an espresso machine gurgles in the background and people chat a few feet away from me.

I’m still writing when she arrives, wearing sunglasses and a black and white knit sweater that looks exactly like something I could’ve wore (almost wore) today. We are both wearing striped shirts. She also got a mug of matcha (did I meet my twin?).

We slide easily into conversation, just as I hoped for, anticipated. We talk effusively about the choir we are both in and the songs that we’ve been learning. I tell her about my desire to join grassroots organizing groups, and she encourages me and offers her ideas on where to look. She’s lived in Eugene for over 10 years, and she knows this city quite well.

Before I know it, we are exchanging life stories, and it doesn’t feel hurried or unnatural. I lean toward her, following her from one place to another in her riveting story. I find myself sharing about times that have been difficult for me, when I realized my own naivety or shortcomings. I feel like she can hold it, this space for honest expression. We go on like it’s a regular meeting of ours, like we’ve shared private thoughts and clanked tea mugs many times before.

I realize that I’m hungry, and my parking meter has run out of time, so I suggest we get lunch. We step out in to the warm fall air and amble around the neighborhood before deciding on a cafe. I order a tuna fish sandwich and a bowl of soup, she orders a chicken salad. We discuss our mutual love for food and exploring flavor and getting creative with our cooking. We talk about our families. We both have 3 siblings. She is singing for her sister’s wedding and asks me about the songs I chose for my wedding. We gripe about the wedding industrial complex and rejoice over $45 dresses. We take a genealogical trip from Yugoslavia to California and Hungary to Seattle, and by the time we are back in Eugene our check is on the table.

We walk back to our cars, pausing at an intersection, where we need to head in different directions. We talk of plans for urban hikes and rendezvous at coffee shops, and I get excited remembering that choir practice is only a few days away. We give each other hugs and say how glad we are to have met. Then we go our separate ways, and by the time I reach my car, I am still beaming, radiating with glee about making a new friend.

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