A few moments ago, my son and I finished reading C.S. Lewis’s book from The Chronicles of Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, together at his bedtime. The Boy and I have read a lot of books together now that he’s 12 going on 13, and I love reading with him. I’ll keep doing it until he tells me he doesn’t like it and doesn’t want to do it anymore, because I like it so much. And I read The Chronicles of Narnia myself 30-35ish years ago, and while I have kind of a freakish memory for words, I didn’t remember this particular passage from my decades old read of this book from childhood. But it stuck with me on this pass with The Boy, and it brought tears to my eyes. It moved me so much The Boy asked if I was alright. I am alright. I’m just very grateful for my best friend. I know I’ve written about her before here, but…I’m doing it again. See, the reason this passage didn’t stick out to me when I read this book as a little girl, is because I never really had a friend I felt connected to when I was a little girl. I didn’t relate to Lucy when I read it then. I do relate to Lucy reading it NOW. Because of A. We’ve only ever seen each other in person; heard each other’s voices out loud…twice. We have spent our whole lives separated by more than two thousand miles. And we talk to each other through writing nearly every day since we met. So maybe it’s an odd thing to say that reading this passage tonight made me miss her. I spoke to her today and do most days (spoke=communicated in text). I almost never get to see or hear her. Today isn’t different than most of our friendship has been, even with travel restrictions and social distancing, because we’ve always been…how we are. But SHE is different than most of my friends. Anyway, here is the passage that made my heart swell for her this evening…
Just before midday, Lucy saw a large shoal of fishes grazing on the weed. They were all eating steadily and all moving in the same direction. “Just like a flock of sheep,” thought Lucy. Suddenly she saw a little Sea Girl of about her own age in the middle of them — a quiet, lonely-looking girl with a sort of crook in her hand. Lucy felt sure that this girl must be a shepherdess — or perhaps a fish-herdess — and that the shoal was really a flock at pasture…And just as the girl, gliding in the shallow water, and Lucy, leaning over the bulwark, came opposite to one another, the girl looked up and stared straight into Lucy’s face. Neither could speak to the other and in a moment the Sea Girl dropped astern. But Lucy will never forget her face. It did not look frightened or angry like those of the other Sea People. Lucy had liked that girl and she felt certain the girl had liked her. In that one moment, they had somehow become friends. There does not seem to be much chance of their meeting again in that world or any other. But if they ever do they will rush together with their hands held out.
That’s all it took really, for me to bond with A. I am not a person who takes to people instantly. I have a big family and I superficially ‘know’ a lot of people, but there have only been three total people in my life that I felt imminently connected with: my high school best friend, D; J, the man I married; and A.
I’m a difficult person to get to know, and according to most people I’ve met, a difficult person to really like. But ‘in that one moment, <we> had somehow become friends.’
Some part of my soul recognized a part of A’s immediately.
And I’ve been having a pretty crummy week (and so has she, based on the conversations we’ve shared the past few days). The world at large is obviously still floundering in tumultuous uncertainty. But tonight, I can be grateful for some things that are unchanging and certain…
I have a son who loves me enough to tolerate and indulge my love of storytelling even as he transitions from boy to man. I can still read the stories I love to him, and he still lets me, and likes it. He still likes ME and having me around.
I have a best friend…who is pretty much a Sea Girl…who, even though we are always geographically far away, we are always closely connected at the soul level. And someday, we are going to meet again in some world…this one or another, hopefully better one…and we’ll meet with our hands held out.
And I get to curl up in bed now with J, a man who has loved me consistently, every day, even the days that aren’t so good. Maybe even especially the days that aren’t so good.
Those things won’t change. ❤