I had lunch with a friend today. We got together for nothing special. There was no birthday to celebrate, no promotion to announce, no catastrophic crises to talk through, no unique situation to discuss. We just had lunch to catch up.
My friend and I met in college. He’s a couple of years younger than I am, but much more industrious. Since graduating, a year after I did, he has nearly completed his master’s degree, he started working for the alternative weekly publication in Houston and is about to start freelancing for a national Hispanic publication. I’d be envious, but I’m too truly happy for him to manage that.
I don’t consider us close friends. Months can go by without contact. I’ll think about calling him and never get around to it. I’ll get an email from him suggesting lunch and then one or the other won’t be able to make it. It’s a casual, easy friendship that requires very little work.
He knows me, though. We go back too long for him not to know me. He knows what sort of flattery I accept, what compliments I will believe and what comments to use to comfort or soothe. He knows what I look like first thing in the morning. We’ve shared hotel rooms and long car drives. He knows that I avoid confrontations, but also knows to avoid my anger. He knows how to annoy and pester me without making me really mad. He knows when I’m pretending to like someone out of politeness and when I’m being sincere. He knows about that naiveté I try to hide and the little-girl-lost attitude I adopt every so often. He knows that I get cranky if I don’t eat and that I don’t do health food. He knows me in ways many of my boyfriends never did.
And I know him in the same way. I know that speculative look he gets when he finds a woman attractive. I know how he likes to stir up trouble. I know that I can trust him to accept without question and I know that I can trust him to question out of curiosity and not malice. I know that he has terrible luck with women, but excellent relationships with his female friends. I know that his amigas far outnumber his amigos. I know, from personal experience, that he’s a great salsa dancer and recommend him to everyone who wants to learn. I know that he doesn’t use people and doesn’t deceive them. I know that he wants to make his mark more than anything in the world.
This is what our friendship is based on. The other stuff, who we’re seeing and what we’re doing and when we’re doing it, that’s nice to know, maybe even relevant and important in a detail-oriented sort of way, but it’s not important. So we work in the same field in a city where that means traveling in the same circle, and we bump into each other every month or so. And, once in a while, we have lunch and catch up on the now while we reminisce about the then.
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