Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kate Miller 8: The Best Medicine

There's nothing like a day with an old friend...

8. The Best Medicine
            Emma was one of Kate’s best friends from college. During the two years that they had overlapped, they did everything together. One summer, they had spent a month together after finals were over: one week in their college town, a week at her home in Wisconsin, a week with a family from church, and a week at her little apartment. Though Kate was glad that her brother, Vance, was getting married at the end of the month, she was almost sorry when it came and she and Emma had to part. Emma was in Kate and Mister’s wedding—a wonderful time, though not nearly long enough, and now it had been over three years since they had seen each other! And this very morning, Emma was driving down from Denver to spend the day with Kate.
            Kate fluttered through breakfast and put on a cute outfit and checked her camera. What would it be like? Would Emma be different? Would they be able to get over the barrier of different circumstances? In spite of her concerns, Kate jumped with excitement when the prancing dog barked. She ran outside to greet Emma. They hugged and laughed and ran inside to escape the snowy cold. Kate felt a wave of relief wash over her. How silly she was to worry! Emma was just the same as always, and nothing would ever change their friendship.
            Emma said hello to Mister in the atrium. “That’s a mighty beard!” she exclaimed.
            Mister laughed and gave her a hug. “Thanks. Where are you two going?” he asked.
            “I think we’ll go to the mall for a while, and maybe find a coffee shop,” Kate replied.
            As they were driving over to the mall, Emma gave a rough summary of her state of being, and then flashed Kate a quick smile and said, “What’s new with you?”
            “Well,” Kate said, flashing the smile back and adding a laugh, “the most recent and most exciting news is that I’m pregnant!”
            Emma gasped and exclaimed, “Hurray! Oh Kate, I’m so excited for you…”
            The two friends talked and talked, and the afternoon wore on, but neither noticed. Time had stopped for perfect reunion of loving friendship. They looked at shoes together and talked of babies and different stages of life. They walked down the mall and discussed family and sibling differences and how to disagree lovingly with someone. Back at the shoe store, Emma bought Kate a pair of shoes for a Christmas present and they shared ideas of travel and recreation. At a coffee shop, they caught up on teaching piano, caring for students, jobs, and dreams for the future, and plans for moving.
            The last three years had painted different lives for the two friends, but they spoke as if they knew and understood all that had happened. Sipping her coffee, Emma exclaimed, “It’s just amazing how good friends can pick up right where they leave off, as if no time has gone by.”
            “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the trick is that you don’t pick up where you leave off,” Kate mused. “I think being good friends means that the time apart matters, but not for your friendship. You can just pick up with where you are now. Of course it’s impossible to try to catch up on all of three years in a single afternoon, but if you can just talk about where you are now, and going forward, I think the important changes over the years come out automatically.”
            Emma smiled. “Yes, I think that is it. I’m glad we have it. And we’ll always have it.”
looking at pictures from her cruise
            Their last few hours together, they shared pictures from their recent trips, Emma from a Mediterranean cruise she and her husband had taken a couple months before, and Kate, her favorite pictures from their summer trips to Alaska and Colorado. For two people that love pictures and photography, Kate thought, this is the best way to really understand something special about them. Then she looked ironically at her camera, whose batteries had been so carefully checked, and which had not been used at all.
            “I know it doesn’t capture the day,” she said as she grabbed it and set it on timer, “but at least it can capture a moment.”
            Emma and Kate snuggled next to each other and smiled. And the flash and click captured a moment of a peaceful and blissful friendship that they both knew would remain, even after they parted.
Good friends are the best medicine, Kate thought as she hugged Emma goodbye.

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