September 26, 2016
By Arthur H. Gunther III
A long silence in the car, but it was not the dulling sort that makes you fidget and wish for time to fly because you are this and she is that and you no longer meet on common ground. Nor was the still moment the one that brings dreadful, souring stomach pain on that longest ride home after romance officially ends. No, it was the silence of best and enduring friendship, that which is as wonderfully normal and accepted by two as readily and in the same trust as the waterfall of words between them when that happens.
Friends come rarely to some, in droves to others, and any friendship has its degrees of depth and also its degrees of separation, that commonality that ties humanity together. The best gift of friendship is mutual trust.
In my life, the friends I have kept dear are no longer seen, but the moments that were are now on film in my memory, and I can roll them anytime the mood prompts. Conversations, a particular gesture, a laugh, revealing eyes that ask questions however unanswered, a scrunched nose — all can be revisited.
And the doors that were opened in those friendships, the ones you might never have walked through otherwise, are as unlocked as ever.
What an expanded person you can be after the being that you were wore the thoughts of another in a car ride, on a couch, somewhere in friendship. And, perhaps, vice-versa.
The only sadness is that you and/or the other may not realize what happened until time had taken you elsewhere. Yet you are still better for it, though regretful that your thanks was not originally spoken, and now it cannot be heard.
Maybe it is, in the silence that true friendship continues even in physical absence.
The writer is a retired newspaperman who can be reached via the columnrule.com