Here’s a picture of what I want:
An old couple walks into a coffee shop. The man shuffles over to a table, pulls out a chair for his wife, and shuffles off to the counter to order their drinks. The woman plops two paperback novels on the table, folds her hands in her lap, and waits patiently. The man returns, hands the woman her latte, sits down and picks up his paperback. They read. After a few minutes, the woman looks up from her cheesy romance and scans the room. Her eyes land on me, surreptitiously observing them and scribbling on a napkin. I hope she knows I’m longing for what she has.
Eventually, the couple closes their books, rises from the table and heads out the door – all without a single word.
As I’m scribbling about my desire for that kind of familiarity (born, I’m sure, only out of a lot of life lived together), my phone rings. From far away, Jess tells me how she’s been talking about silence and remembering our floor-sitting sessions. Floor-sitting sessions happened pretty often during our time at W&M, and usually started with a conversation something like this:
[phone rings/IM tone sounds/someone knocks on the door]
“Hey, are you okay?”
“Yeah, can I just come in and sit on your floor for a while?”
And that’s what would happen. We wouldn’t talk, or laugh or cry – although those things happened a lot, the talking, the laughing and the crying – we’d just sit, while the other one continued studying or writing or cleaning (well, Jess never cleaned, so she wouldn’t ever be continuing that). We’d just sit.
Just sitting is one of my favorite things to do with other people. Here in the Potassium Palace, we sit around a lot: playing games, watching movies and cracking each other up (i.e.: team Drama and Disaster kicking team Dope Rappers’ tail at Spades this evening). Last night, I fell asleep while the boys droned on (and ON) naming every player on every team in the NFL during the 1995 season. That’s a good kind of sitting – drifting into sleep surrounded by the voices and laughter of some of your favorite people.
We sit around a lot, but we hardly ever sit wordlessly. Silence is hard to come by and familiarity hard to breed.
But those things, silence, familiarity, equilibrium, comfort and wordless presence…those are what I want.
I want floor-sitting friendships.