Simple Scene: Daytime. Salt-stained lanes of interstate 90 in Massachusetts. Interior. Gray on gray sedan. Bright enough to where sunglasses, dim as only northern winter skies can be. Adult female alone with her thoughts.
The radio is uninteresting and uncooperative. Not succeeding in wrestling her attention away from an interior parade of loosely associated ideas. Like sitting on a remote dock in summer sunshine watching the traffic on a busy lake. And the road.
FRIEND is a word that looms up between the beats of the lane lines. Even all in caps it is insufficient to contain its importance -necessity, gravity, rarity, magnetism. She is wonderstruck by its fathomless worth, its absolutely true mythology: a vessel of infinitely renewable, intangible, positive power woven from the simplest deeds. Two hugs, three drinks, one last fire. Dinner, breakfast, parents, a child, laughing, snow, a dance, breathing, listening. Nothing. Any old day. Except.
Trust. Time. The same place where they used to seek the trains. The naive, confident kind, of children. A span both healing and absurd. A site that is a revelation to her. One more lesson in the curriculum of old school chums reuniting.
The satisfaction of the visit is thoroughgoing. Swelling and buoying. Fulfilling. Astonishing in its ease. It seems that everyone would be infinitely, renewably, happy if each could be humble in front of this honor of being asked into another’s life; if each would participate joyfully, honestly, actively, with goodness. This simple compact: kindness, caring, acknowledgment, acceptance, sharing.
She feels rich and wishes it for others. Wishes this wealth was the currency of modern days. At least among those she admires it is still a metric of a man. Exit 14. Back home. Away from a star of a moment. Perhaps to wheel above and guide her.