“There are good ships and wood ships, ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships, may they always be!”
— Irish Proverb
So, I’ve been going to therapy for nearly a year. One of several ways I’ve tried to deal with my mother’s death. I’m not going to talk about any of that today though. It’s related, but only indirectly.
There’s this woman who has the same weekly time slot as me with a different therapist, same building. I’ve been meeting up with her in the waiting room week after week for months now.
Many weeks ago, after mostly just smiles and friendly nods of acknowledgement I took a chance and told her how much I adored the pair of pants she was wearing. I really did, too, they were very sharp and chic. It had taken me several minutes to get up the nerve.
I mean we were in an official doctor-type office setting. Was there a protocol for this? I had no clue. Nor did I know if she’d mind me speaking to her directly.
You may think that I was overthinking this. Or you may relate closely. I’m finding although there are lots of different types of people in the world, lately we’ve been hearing a fair bit about the overthinkers; which leads me to believe there are us and basically everybody else. No?
Anyway, I digress. She looked a bit surprised, but not awkward or upset. She looked down, said thanks and I could tell she was flipping through her mind like a Rolodex.
Soon she hit on the info she’d been searching for and told me the brand name. She told me a bit about where to look for them online and the decent price she’d gotten them for. She said they were super comfortable even though they were kind of dressy.
Then her therapist came for her and we parted ways. I immediately Googled the brand name and located them online to look more into them later. I think I probably smiled to myself. Double pleased about the pants and the pleasant exchange.
Sometimes I feel like a little schoolkid again; do you know what I mean?
Like perhaps one of the therapists might come out like a principal and scold us for talking to each other when we’re supposed to take this more seriously and be more respectful of each other and those around us. Kind of funny.
Over the next five or six weeks sometimes our paths would cross, other times I wouldn’t see her at all. We exchanged actual chit-chat. One day she seemed to give off an upset energy so I felt myself hanging back. Simply saying hello and smiling warmly and encouragingly.
Was that weird? She didn’t seem to think so.
Three weeks ago when we met in the little waiting room after I’d not been in the week before we had a little chat. Either we were earlier than usual or our therapists were both running late, because sunny weather small talk led to me telling her my husband and I were going to be traveling north in a couple days and I wasn’t keen to leave our lovely current weather.
She nodded, and went on to ask if it was business or pleasure? Now this was the point where I sometimes get hung up when making small talk with virtual strangers (or really anyone), when to go on and when to reign it in? I think I’d been being more and more brief in general for the past while.
Instead as she sat there looking expectantly at me I began to expand, still as briefly as seemingly possible for me. I told her we were going to fly up to Bangor, rent a car and head north to where my husband grew up all in the hopes of surprising his sister who was to be married on the weekend. Her face lit up. She asked some questions about the forecast and the venue.
We quickly talked about how exciting it would be to surprise my sister-in-law and soon to be brother-in-law. She asked if anyone else knew we were coming and I told her only my mother-in-law and her husband and they’d done an amazing job of keeping it quiet.
A few minutes later her therapist poked her head in for her, and we wrapped it up. She wished us a fantastic time, a safe trip and all the kind things a person would typically wish another. It was nice.
Two weeks later I was back in the familiar waiting room when she came in and slipped into her usual seat. It’s comical what creatures of habit we are, as I always sit in the same chair, too. In fact, I love “my” chair.
After some sunny weather chit-chat once again, she asked me how my trip went? I was a bit surprised. I don’t expect people to remember my stories or tidbits about me. I laughed inwardly. I was chuffed, to borrow a favorite word from a dear British friend.
I quickly gave her a semi-brief recap of the basics – great trip, we totally surprised her and everyone else, the weather was mixed, but it hardly mattered because the wedding was beautiful and time with family is precious and priceless.
After several minutes her therapist came in, shortly followed by my own. For the few seconds in between, I sat reflecting on how much I enjoy these little interactions with this friendly soul. The fact that she’d recalled why I’d been away, or even that I’d been away had touched me.
I think most adults agree that it gets harder and harder to make friends as we get older. And although I’d never suggest that we are friends in the typical Merriam-Webster’s dictionary #1 sense of the word:
Definition of friend
a: one attached to another by affection or esteem She’s my best
b : acquaintance
[Definition of acquaintance
1a: the state of being acquainted They had a long-standing
b : personal knowledge : familiarity had no acquaintance with the facts of the case
2a: the persons with whom one is acquainted Should auld acquaintance be forgot … — Robert Burns
b : a person whom one knows but who is not a particularly close friend a casual acquaintance]
I might be able to go so far as friend meaning #2 though:
Definition of friend
2a : one that is not hostile Is he a friend or an enemy?
b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group showbiz friends
Which is super cool in my book!
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Once again, CONGRATULATIONS to my sister-in-law & new brother-in-law! They are one fine couple, and two of the happiest people I know!
Raina K Morton May 3 2017