Who Could Ask For Anything More?

Companions.  The gift of friendship, togetherness, to know we’re not alone.

Steve brought me breakfast in bed this morning.  I am having one of my cyclical let-downs, when I have wearied myself in contending with life and death and love and loss.  We were discussing E.M. Forster’s novel “A Room With A View” when this came on.  Hormones, of course, have everything to do with it as well.  Lucy Honeychurch gets “peevish” when she plays Beethoven, and I get “peevish” reading Mr. Emerson’s speech on life and “muddles”.  Steve gets Slavic and moody listening to Mahler, or perhaps he listens to Mahler when he feels moody and Slavic.  We are beginning to know each other’s moods better and better.  And I really believe we are lucky, blessed, in a state of grace in that we accept those moods and are not threatened by the most peculiar of them.  That’s why he’s my best friend.

I’ve never had a lot of friends, and all of my best friends have been male.  Maybe that’s because I grew up with 3 older sisters.  I am a little suspicious of females.  I have a feeling it’s because I compare myself to them far too much.  A sly competitiveness creeps in and makes me uneasy.  I pull away.  With guys, I don’t compare.   I can be ‘other’ and so can he.  It seems simpler.  It’s a mindset that should apply to females as well except for my own perverse insistence that it can’t.   Growing up, I played with a boy who was a year younger than I and lived two doors down.  We were best friends for 9 years.  We played in the woods across the street.  We played house and wedding, and he was always the bride.  He had older step-sisters who kept being married off, and I think he found that really enchanting.  I suspect he grew up gay, actually.  I Googled him and found out a few pieces of information that might support that assumption.  But it’s just an assumption.  I know for a fact that at least one of my high school boyfriends came out after we broke up.   What does that matter?  I suppose I enjoy creative, artistic, sensitive male companionship.   Jim was definitely my best friend as well as my husband, and that description could fit him, too.

Brother & sister and best of friends

Friends to suffer with your moods, enjoy the stuff of life, travel with you through adventures of all kinds.  Old friends, new friends.  Situational companions.  Steve likes to imagine how he’d be if he were stuck in an elevator with a few people for hours.  He would definitely skip the small talk about the predicament and enjoy a captive opportunity to get to know them really well.  He’s kind of intense like that.  Scares some people.  Yesterday, I saw a news video about a policeman who crawled under a bus to hold the hand of a 24 year old woman who was run over and pinned.  The photo of them together on the asphalt and his interview afterward just filled my heart.  I know what it’s like to be so afraid and to just cling to another person for the reminder that we are never alone in our fears.   We suffer together.  We are interconnected.  And if anything is God, it is there as well.  Presence.  Abiding.  Being with each other.  It is the ultimate ‘yes’ of living.  Which brings me back to Forster  and Mr. Emerson.  “In his ordinary voice, so that she scarcely realized he was quoting poetry, he said:

“‘From far, from eve and morning/ And yon twelve-winded sky/ The stuff of life to knit me/ Blew hither: here am I’

“George and I both know this, but why does it distress him?  We know that we come from the winds, and that we shall return to them; that all life is perhaps a knot, a tangle, a blemish in the eternal smoothness.  But why should this make us unhappy?  Let us rather love one another and work and rejoice.  I don’t believe in this world sorrow.”  Miss Honeychurch assented.  “Then make my boy think like us.  Make him realize that by the side of the everlasting Why there is a Yes — a transitory Yes if you like, but a Yes.”

Ah, Yes.  To love one another and work and rejoice.  Companioned.  Who could ask for anything more?

8 thoughts on “Who Could Ask For Anything More?

  1. Funny, I grew up with 3 sisters and one of them was my best friend for 19 years. When she died, I went through some attachment issues and didn’t really open up to anyone, male or female. I think about the When Harry Met Sally question of whether men & women can ever truly be “just friends” and agree that it’s ideal when lovers are best friends as well. I find a difference in the kind of companionship I have with female best friends and male best friend/lovers. In the pair bond, it is easier to be vulnerable and to trust because that huge oxytocin rush is an excellent motivator. With other friendships the intimacy grows more slowly. Part of the vulnerability in my female – female relationships comes with willingness to recognize different strengths and weaknesses in each other and to let go of the urge to compete. In trusting that I am lovable without being prettier or smarter or more talented or better in any way, without being sexually attractive (except maybe on some subliminal level), I can return to the freedom of my childhood. My best female friends are my play-mates, just like my sister was. We need each other because this game of life just isn’t as fun when played alone.

    • Memma and I talk about the birth order thing quite a bit and how it feels when those two older siblings are best friends and the oldest sibling is a bit distant and you feel like you’re not a member of the club. Trusting that we are lovable is not something that comes easily to either of us to this day on some level, despite lots of evidence to the contrary. The freedom of my childhood was in being play-mates with the boy down the street, who probably never found me sexually attractive, but accepted me unconditionally just the same.

    • I don’t think you’re so alone. Your blog stats would suggest that a lot of people are beside you at least on a weekly basis. I’ve been blogging for a few months longer and have far fewer comments and likes to record. Yikes! There I go making comparisons again. Okay, this is not a pity party. We are two amazing women half a world apart and yet in spirit, sisters. We’re in love with the world, down to the awesome details on a pine cone. We will never be without the companionship that we invite by being open to and appreciative of that which is in front of us.

      • Oh gosh I didn’t mean that to sound quite so pathetic as it seems to!! Thank you for your very kind words.. I did laugh at you doing the comparison bit and then scolding yourself 😀 You and I are indeed drawn to each other in the way that we are in the world I think .. and you MUST get a macro lens.. it is just THE best thing !!

  2. Thank you for sharing your take on birth order. It is fascinating how two people can have childhoods in the same family & the same environment and have utterly different experiences. It means a lot to me to hear from you and to learn what effect my actions had on you. (See my note on true intimacy in reply to your “honestly!” blog entry.)

    btw, the boy down the street expressed to me some early, hetero-erogenous sexual awakenings. I babysat him and his mother left me the job of explaining the birds & bees to him & his sister. As I said, utterly different experiences.

  3. Pingback: Advent Day #17 – Companions | scillagrace

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