My Friend

I have a friend that I worked with over 20 years ago.  When she left our office, she and I lost contact.  Then one day I thought of her, saw that she had lost her father and I wrote to her.  So we emailed once a month for a couple of years.  She even came to visit me and we had a good time.

In April of this year, I suddenly stopped hearing from her.  Of course I was worried because she is single and lives alone in Maine.  But I also know that she is a real introvert and sometimes communications are just too much for her.  But at this point, I decided to give her space, and just figured that she had lost interest in communicating.  At one time we both had cats and she still does; while I no longer have cats and now have dogs.  Her interests are in quilting, and cats, while mine run to art and my dogs.  We no longer have work in common, having retired some years ago.

I had not given it much thought, being consumed with Browning’s death, Parker’s heart worm treatments and the million little things that make up a life —  until, I received a birthday present from her.  I wrote and thanked her and told her I was surprised to hear from her, having gone so many months without from her. She wrote back to say that while she reads emails, she can’t really bring herself to respond.  She says that she can’t bring herself to open written letters.  All of this does not surprise me,  as she is an aerospace engineer and an introvert.  Most engineers are not known to be social butterflies. But now she has sent me a Christmas present as well.

I have to say that I was puzzled as to what to do next.  Miss Manners says that you don’t have to return, in kind,  every gift you are given, as long as you accept it gracefully and offer thanks. But that doesn’t seem right in this case.  So this afternoon, I sat down and ordered her Burmese cat calendar, a book I think she will enjoy and a gift card to spend as she likes. It will be delivered on Thursday and hopefully it won’t appear to be a last minute thought.   I mean, who doesn’t love a GC from Amazon?  I hope it will convey that I value our friendship, however infrequent our contact.   Because she definitely is one of those friends with whom I can go on with our conversation, even after  8 months and it is important to cherish those kinds of friends.

Until next time, Elsie

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