Even from a distance I can tell something isn’t right. She walks with her head down, her shoulders curved into herself. She walks like someone who needs a hug.
“Hi!” I wave a good morning. “Are you OK?”
She looks up and shrugs. Her eyes tell me no and the purple circles tell me she hasn’t slept. Smiling seems a monumental effort.
“No,” she admits. “It’s been a rough couple of weeks.” She tells me that her mother’s passed away and then she became sick herself. A rough couple of weeks seem an understatement.
I wish there was something I could say but there isn’t, so I listen. Sometimes that’s the thing people need most.
B. and I became friends years ago. Every day, she’d walk her dog past our house. Every day, the boys and I would stop and chat. Over the weeks, months, years, we’ve lived in this house, our conversations changed from simple greetings to conversations.
Friends come in all shapes and sizes. Some you meet for coffee. Some you meet on the sidewalk.
I drop off a sympathy card and flowers at her door later that afternoon. It occurs to me that in all these years I’ve never stepped foot on her front porch. Maybe our friendship’s stretching to include more of ourselves.