Our friendship is a triumph over suspicion. We’ve both been building barriers our whole lives and we court each other in kind. She forgives me for how we met because the relief is too strong, it hits us both, the immediate understanding that we are both connected and somehow in this, less alone.
All that we do not ask in the first tentative weeks, all that we do not say because the words are not yet ready to hit the light, will define it. We continue to meet every morning, we sit side by side and share the paper and pass the sugar. We barely speak. Shoulder to shoulder, the occasional leaning in. If we start to talk something will be broken. We both have too much locked up inside to risk the breach. But we sit together every day and the barriers start asking to fall.
By the time we get there, when we are finally ready to tell our stories, they will arrive as recognition, as reminders of what we already knew. We will trade histories that wind and weave through different tracks, occasionally coming close, sparking off each other before heading off in a different direction. Two lives in a city of millions that ran parallel at times, and the ignorance of each other’s existence until one morning when Lucy Mason goes for a run and I drop the coffee jar with a crack on the floor.
Here our lives stop and turn. We are oriented toward each other in this irrevocable moment, the gears changing on both of our lives, as her love and mine collide.
It will take months for the stories to surface. But for now we show up for coffee every morning before work, and on the weekends there is a type of longing until Monday swings back around. Thirty minutes that become the sanctuary of my day, the only place where I can hold you close, and feel that somehow, someway you are mine to keep.
You belong to both of our secrets now, Mack.
(An excerpt from the beginnings of the friendship between Maggie and Lucy – the woman Mack was trying to help when he died)