Best friends

I don’t have many great friends, and of the four or five I do have, most of them live far away. Virginia Woolf once asked, apropos friendship, can you really call someone a best friend if you see that person only eight times each year? If I saw the people I consider my best friends eight times a year, I would be delirious with joy.

The reality is, I see them twice if I’m lucky, once customarily. When we get together, we do absolutely nothing. We occasionally go out for coffee or dinner. We watch re-runs of Law and Order. We eat glorious breakfasts, usually oatmeal (sometimes with raisins!) One of the husbands of those friends of mine asked her, what is it exactly that you do? I think this is because men have activities-based friendships. They go to sporting events and concerts and bars and movies. For me, my friends are the entertainment: they are the film and the floor show of my life. They are the garden of my spirit. A few times in our lives, we’ve gone on adventures together, even big traveling adventures; but I can honestly say that the high points of those adventures were not the sight, but the moments of glad grace. After I leave these friends, I think back upon every word they say. I put their wise and funny words into the mouths of the characters in the books I write. I remember every time we laughed, every secret, every smile and nuance.

The only thing worse than seeing (most of) my dearest friends only once or twice a year would be to not seem them at all. A little is not enough, but it is better than nothing not by a little – but by a lot.

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