i laid stones from the beach in a row down each of my legs. each one rubbed smooth from sand and water. each one deserving to be noticed. we sat on the shore, my friends and i. two of us were right where the land meets the lake. one of us was in on her stomach, in range enough for conversation.
i closed my eyes because the sun was bright and the flies were biting. i closed my eyes because i wasn’t thankful for this last stolen day at the beach. if you close your eyes you can stop your mind enough to use your other senses. and it worked. i listened.
they talked about this and they talked about that and i felt the small weight of stones running in a line on my legs. i listened and i felt. i didn’t just look and think. they talked about food and how they decorate their homes and they talked about children and they just talked.
they were my friends.
they talked earlier, too.
i was swimming out alone in cold water. i swam towards the horizon and forgot at some point that i was heading out over my head. i just forgot. and when it came to me that i shouldn’t keep swimming, i stopped and tried to touch and went under until my bare feet hit the long hidden rocks on the floor of lake huron. i pulled them up quick, afraid i’d disturbed a sleeping fish. i looked towards the shore and i saw my friends talking.
i swam back their way.
i never really knew how to be a friend until i met the lord. i still struggle with it. i see conversations far off and i hear words right next to me and keep my eyes shut tight.
but i’m learning.
when i was a child i would spend so much time looking in the mirror. i cared deeply about myself, about my appearance. now that i’m older i could tell you what my friends look like but i’d be fuzzy on the details of my own face. and i think that’s progress. because maybe vanity is the opposite of friendship.