The Crème Brulé came with an extra-thick candied crust, and lots of little black fly-poop spots inside the rich cream. I ate several spoonfuls of the desert wondering about those questionable spots, before I realized why dessert was so pricey; the fly-poop spots were actually vanilla pod seeds. Dessert was tasty, it was rich, and mirrored my evening with these old friends.
My friends Stephanie and Paul sat with me on an outdoor deck at the Livet restaurant this evening in Victoria. We were able to look down on a constant stream of people entering the gorgeous Royal theater across Broughton Street, while we savored our rich desserts – including sticky toffee pudding for Paul – and drank decaf coffee. As I don’t eat out at this kind of upscale place very often, that was a treat, but such a particular pleasure to hang out with two dear old friends from hundreds of miles away.
Earlier we had lingered over a meal in the Bistro in the 10 acres “farm-to-fork” restaurant. Because I trust them, and they know me, we could share our most intimate concerns: our children. All young adults now, but parental concern, it never ends does it. They have wonderful kids. Our friendship and trust built slowly in play date with the kids, from living a few houses apart on the same block, in the same small town, spending time together in walks around the neighborhood, and just getting together for tea or coffee at each other’s houses. The trust grows from meeting members of each other’s extended families, knowing each other’s histories. But it also comes from something intangible. It starts with recognizing kindred spirits, and can only build with exposure and time. You hear and see and partly experience your friends’ travails and joys. Increasingly, I see these two friends as amazing, splendid human beings.
It’s easier to recognize the value in others when you know them well. It remains unclear to me why anyone would want to hang out with me. How I see others is more important than how they see me. When you see the jewel at the core of one person you become able to discern it in others, if only in flashes. Maybe as humans we have a moral obligation to get to know each other well.
I moved to Victoria more than 10 years ago, but overall Stephanie and Paul and I have known each other for an amazing 25 years. It’s a joy to hear their updates. The longer I live, the more Valuable become relationships with people I have known a long time – it’s deeply worthwhile hanging onto those friendships from elementary school, high school, college, and towns and cities you have lived in along the way. Indeed I have a small handful of friends I’ve known from elementary school now living in Victoria. We see each other often. It’s a very short life we live and we’re lucky to accumulate a few such friendships along the way.
Paul and Stephanie and I had only a few hours together . Although our visit was, like the crème brûlée, sweet, rich and quickly over, their short presence stays with me.
Their trip to my city is brief and busy. The loveliest of friends, the heart-connected, are also kind of heartbreaking.