3. Among Friends
It has often been said that when you are among close friends, you are among family. I've always pondered whether that was just a remark used when family had let you down or when the company of friends is more uplifting than that of your own flesh and blood. I was most surprised to find out that it had nothing to do with family ties or the commonalities or anything that ties and binds. It is simply about being the midst of those you love and those who love you being in their lives from the most trifling circumstances to the most important life events.
M: Hello? Are you there? I can only talk for a little while.
F: Oh, I am so glad that we're finally able to chat! Some time has passed since we've last spoken.
M: Yes, yes, I know. Timing is very fragile for me.
F: I'm aware of that. Tell me everything that has gone through your mind since we've last spoken.
M: For the time that I've spent here, I was set on the idea that these are people that I am acquainted with, but I have no intention of being friends with. However, the more time I've spent with them, talking with them, engaging in dangerous situations (as it usually happens over here), I've realized that we all have very similar stories and interests. We've began to realize that we are not quite that dissimilar as we originally thought. The most profound discussions happen late at night, cuddled by the warm fire, under the starry night, when our minds drift to where our hearts lie, and we would say whatever was our minds. We would talk about everything: from life back home, to the girl waiting for us back home, to memories, to where life will lead us after this, and to just reflections on the day. Recently, we've all managed to pitch in and buy local instruments and once we have finished using words to express ourselves, we would pick up the nearest instrument and begin playing. It doesn't sound very lovely, but the way our thoughts are expressed through music is profound.
F: That sounds absolutely lovely, my dear. I've never once wished that you would be alone over there. I've always longed that you would interact and make friends, certainly not to replace the ones you have, but rather because we are social creatures and are designed to interact with one another.
M: You always know just what to say.
F: I actually visited some of our friends last weekend.
M: You did? You drove down there for the weekend?
F: I did. They were all there, gathered together, and since I didn't know when the next time this would happen, I figured I might as well. It was wonderful, to see all of us gathered together. It felt just like old times. There was a massive feast, so we dined outside, in the backyard, with beautiful lights illuminating through the late night sky. We looked through old pictures, talked about old memories, discussed many college memories. It felt so wonderful being there.
M: Oh, how I miss them. How I wished that I was there, with them all. Did you tell them how it pained me that I wasn't there?
F: Of course I did. I told them you were away and that we must do this again somehow, when you're back home.
M: I'm sorry that I wasn't there. How I wished I wasn't away so I could been in the company of good friends.
F: My love, fret not, for they assured me that this would certainly not be the last time we would gather together. While we were looking over old pictures, there was an old file they showed me. I didn't know you did photography for a while. I knew you enjoyed it and liked doing it, but you never told me that you seriously considered it as a business venture. You mentioned before that it was something you wanted to do, but couldn't see yourself doing it professionally since it's more of a hobby. They showed me a compilation of old photographs you used to take. There were various pictures ranging from a ferris wheel in the sunset at a carnival to a crashing wave. Most of them were scenic. And then, there was one particular picture that stuck out to me. It was a candid photograph of a young woman sitting in a coffee shop wearing a red cable knit sweater reading a book while drinking a cup of coffee.
M: It was something I used to do to express myself individually. The more busy I got, the less I did it until I stopped entirely. That photograph was taken in December at a nearby coffee shop, not far from campus. I don't know what it was about her that struck me about her. Perhaps it was the way the red sweater contrasted against her hair or the fact that in a busy coffee shop she appeared so serene and dissolved in her novel that it was mesmerizing. I didn't see her face since her head was cradled between the pages of her book, so I never found out who it was.
F: Did you ever think about her after that?
M: Not extensively. It was more the picture that stayed with me and I wondered if I were ever see her again. Naturally, that doesn't matter in the slightest since I have you.
F: Thank you, my dear, for capturing me on that stuffy December day.
M: The girl in the picture is you?!
F: Indeed it is. The red sweater was given to me by my ex-boyfriend shortly before our relationship ended. Then I never wore the sweater again since I found no reason to. That's why you never saw that sweater again.
M: I cannot believe that you are that girl in the photograph. The chances of you being here is almost uncanny.
F: Of course I would never mention back then that I saw you walking the coffee shop, but I didn't give you a second thought. I knew exactly who you were.
M: Oh, my darling! You have the ability to make me smile thousands of miles away. Unfortunately, I must bid you adieu. Give my warmest hellos to them and let them that I will be returning shortly. I love you, my mysterious, photogenic, and utterly beautiful woman. I will be with you in a very short time.
F: I love you, my handsome. I love you.