It’s early mornings for us. We used to meet down at the swimming pool to do laps before school, but time has thrown us into different locations. We’ve spread ourselves across different cultures, and now we settle for a coffee shop in the quiet stillness of just-after-dawn.
There are some friendships that you should not let go of. This is one of them. I met this friend in high school and we used to swim in the mornings together, drinking green smoothies afterwards on my back porch as we discussed a scattered collection of topics ranging from politics to physics to philosophy to poetry. You don’t throw away friends like this. Now we make the effort to catch up, to make space to connect and smile and share about where our adventures have taken us. Her stories are wide-ranging and impressive, yet she’s grounded enough to own them responsibly. My stories are small, local for now, and yet they paint a colourful portrait of where I stand.
The beauty of this friendship is that nothing is forced. It grew up from sharing. First, we shared time in the still-dark hours of morning at the pool. We offered our interests and insights and built up a long string of conversations that has brought us to this. These are my favourite kind of relationships: the ones that can drift in and out like no time has passed, where each conversations can pick up without the routine niceties of small talk and questions that neither of us care about, much.
I pick her up at the corner and we dive right in. With one hour to catch up on relationships and dreams and travels around the world, there isn’t much time to waste. There’s a certain hushed magic to the morning that makes the conversation seem even more pithy. The space is carved out for only this. In a way, the car, the coffee shop: it’s all holy ground, here. When you set aside time to be fully present and allow story to fill the air, something changes in you. Perspective shifts, the day seems injected with a new sense of possibility, you start to see other people through new eyes: what is their story?
When the hour is used up, I grab my keys to head home. In my car, I pause to say a silent thank-you for these mornings, the richness of it all, the empty roads, and the friends that stick around. I pray that I never lose my sense of wonder.
I start the engine, driving back into my life as she waits for a ride back into hers. I know that, until we get another morning to swap stories, the quiet between us will be diffused by messages here and there, or punctuated by the occasional postcard. They’ll bridge the space until next time.
This morning, though, it’s all gratitude and a quiet rest in my spirit. Times like these remind me of what is really important. I remember that it is a privilege to listen to another person’s story. It is even more of an honour to share a piece of it in friendship.