Tomorrow I travel eastward for a reunion with a dear friend. She is literally the second person I met when I began college. I remember politely exchanging names, while inwardly wondering if she was being paid to be friendly (later I found out that she really is that friendly!).
We were friendly acquaintances our first year of college, but not bosom friends. Our paths crossed more and more the next year, and by the end of our second year we agreed to visit one another (since we alone of our circle would be studying abroad our junior year).
I went to Oxford, and loved it. But it was lonely. In my last weeks there, Hannah and I had a plan for visits. She would take the train and bus to Oxford, and then together we would travel back to Paris. This was about the extent of our planning. It’s a small thing, but the moment that I saw her alight from the bus I felt so glad. I think in our lives we are allowed many golden hours (short periods of time when we get a taste of what Paradise was and shall be). I have been blessed with many of these hours, but this one is fixed in my memory. On a side note, Hannah and I were even wearing the exact same outfit (exact same shirt, but different colors, black skirts, tights, boots, and complementary pashminas). We walked arm in arm up to the north part of Oxford where I was living.
And we’ve been fast friends ever since. Hannah is the friend that pushes me to do things outside my comfort zone (jumping pictures in public places and training for a half marathon come to mind), but I always feel better for having done these things. She is also the friend that understands that if left to my own devices I will eat an ungodly amount of cheese and rich food. The second time I visited her in Paris, she made sure that I was eating some vegetables every day. I could go on and on, but my life is richer for having known her.