I ran into a friend in Target this week whom I hadn't seen in a while. Well, it's been a long while, I guess.
"How have you been?" she asked, as our small-talk grew into something more substantial.
"You know my husband passed away," I said.
That's one way to move a conversation from, "Hey, how's things," into "Holy shit, we need to talk, it has been way too long."
It turns out she'd lost her little sister and a good friend in the past year. Hugging commenced. Ice cream defrosted in my cart. Salmon steaks, too. It didn't matter. It just wasn't important anymore. What mattered was reconnecting with this friend, this person who'd fallen out of my life and now reappeared at just the right moment. In Target. In the pasta section. (Yes, our Target has groceries. We have alcohol, too. Hate us because we're beautiful.)
We talked about feeling lost in those early months, then regaining our footing. We talked about our kids. We talked about macaroni. We talked about grief. We talked about houses. And breaded topping for the macaroni. What? Some kids are picky eaters.
What we didn't have to do was start over. I love that about certain friends, the ones you can pick up with like no time has passed. I love friendships that flow like life flows, with natural drifts, unforced. No apologies are made for lost contact or guilt felt for time apart, but you can fall right back into the rhythm of conversation you had before.
So much of life is really fucking difficult. I like when things are easy for a change. I like when life hands you the gift of an old friend in the pasta aisle at Target and a hug when you thought you were just there to buy toilet paper and groceries.