I have an artist friend. Not THAT artist friend, but the other one. I have two. We don’t talk often, but when we do we talk about our dreams, direction, our hopes and wishes for the rest of our days. We don’t talk about children, really, a bit, sometimes, but not much, even though we share the common bond of each being mom to four. We mostly focus on writing and illustrating and the pros and cons of writers’ groups. We focus on going back to school, or not. We focus on the creative mind and how inconvenient it can be at times. We would talk more often, but we each get busy and forget to call. Or, we think to call, but then something comes up and we forget again. We sit over black bean soup in a sourdough bowl and a really hot mug of organic green tea and share sketches and essays. My artist friend’s company feeds my soul. It feeds my writer’s heart in a way that conversation with a non-creative-type friend never could.
I used to envy those women who had a group. I used to wish to be one of those women who went out with “the girls” on a Saturday night. The Girls being a fixed entity with a common history. I used to want this, but then I realized that I am not that person. What I want from the company of a friend is different depending on my mood, the day, the hour, my need of the moment. What I want from the company of a friend varies and cannot be satisfied with a generic card game night or evening of cocktails. I don’t have a group. I don’t go out with the girls. I no longer even desire this. Instead, I have this friend and that friend. I lunch with a friend or latte with a friend. I shop, walk, hear local authors speak, and even pick out shrubs with friends. Sometimes we just talk--online, on the phone, in our driveways.
I have a standing weekly date with my writer friend. We meet at the local coffee shop as writers are supposed to do to discuss agents and queries and voice and style and the occasional synopsis. We meet to act all writerly and to discuss the art and business of writing, and we do, but we also chat on kids and calories and come-ons and cleavage. We ogle and stare and sneak peeks at neighboring tables in order to assemble the most interesting characters from the characters sitting around us. We talk about our widening back ends and laugh until we spit coffee on each other. We vent in the most positively humorous way imaginable. By the time we say our goodbyes, our stomachs hurt from laughing so hard, our eyes are tearing and we are working hard to catch our breath.
I have known another, my other artist friend, forever, but we have only been friends for just awhile. We share private stories, incredibly private stories. I could tell her anything. Not like I could tell my long-time closest friend ANYthing, but I can tell her most anything which is interesting considering I’m not sure even what her real hair color is. I don’t know the basics—what music she listens to, what her food preferences are--but I know about things in her past, things you don’t post on blogs or status updates.
But do I have that friend I could call at 3 A.M.? The books all say I should have one of those. I do have one who has promised a kidney if I ever need it. That might come in handy. But a 3 A.M. friend? I’m just not sure I’d feel comfortable calling anybody at 3 A.M., so maybe that’s just me.
I have a new friend. We had lunch today. I had a tofu wrap. She had the black bean burger. It’s a getting to know you time, the excitement of a new connection. You never really know with a new friend if they are yet a new friend. They may just be someone you meet at a café a couple of times and then decide to part ways with, having not much in common or lacking the kindred spirit feel, but all friendships start somewhere. Even the best of friendships were once a yeah-we’re-new-to-the-school-system-how-about-you type of thing.
I love my friends. I love that they are all different and that they each contribute something unique to my life. And if we aren’t all a group, I am totally fine with that. The way I see it is that I have a lot of two-person groups. I consider myself rich beyond what many women are because I have my writer friends, my artist friends, my when-the-kids-were-little friends, my high school friends, my whatever-fill-in-the-blank friends. Who knows? I think I even may have a couple of 3 A.M. friends.