Friend

on

 

An image stops my fingers as I am flipping through the pages. Still trying hard to refocus my mind, I keep my Bible and books on my hands as much as I could to meet that one verse, one image, that could inspire me. My hovering mind made its sudden landing when I encountered this illustration. I stare at the picture, holding the page with my frozen hands for a long while. I sense a quiet smile forming on my lips. I am reminiscing about my good old friend.

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illustration by Yunwoo Choi, Samtuh (샘터) July issue

She loves cats though she does not own one. I love to ride a bike though I have stopped riding. I once taught her how to ride when she came to visit me. She came unexpectedly and stayed for a month with me. I was in the deepest valley of my clinical depression when each day was lived on the verge of my suicidal urge. That was when God sent her to me all the way from Korea.

We were high school classmates. She wanted to be a TV producer and I, a writer. We both loved music and sharing our favorite music was our language. We especially loved the dinnertime when we could race down to the school cafeteria to find out what was for dinner. You could say that was the only time we exercised- this race down to the dinner. Although, we did exercise for real and for once, on the morning Princess Diana died. During our first and last morning jog, we found out about her tragic death from the newsstand (that was the times before the cellphone and smartphones). It’s a memory that’s still as vivid as this present morning in my balcony typing my words alone.

Most of my morning starts this way now. Alone. On my computer. Facing the empty chair across the table. My dog is sitting in the corner obsessing over a bunny that grazes grass all morning. Until my toddler races down the stairs from her room, I am alone, my mind and the memories it creates my constant companion. And this morning- I am sitting with a friend of mine and the memories of us is warmer than my morning coffee.

Friend.

I realized that I was hungry for a friend when I handed my phone number to the new pastor’s young wife at my church. She reminded me of my high school best friend the first time I saw her. The resemblance of the two were starkly similar that I prepared a picture of my old high school friend to show the pastor’s wife. But quickly after our initial budding of some sort of friendship, the pastor’s wife went into labor and now I assume she is staying home with her new born baby.

Friend.

Not just any friend but that friend I used to run with and hear the same music on my shared earphones. The friend I used to watch sunsets with through the small window of our school gym, and the friend with whom I shared the same meals each day during our years of the high school dorm life.

Friend.

I am blessed to know handful of those friends that bring such joy and warmth just by remembering. In Seoul, in Hawaii, in Tennessee, and in all of the places that I’ve lived and poured my heart out, my friends are vividly alive. And even though I cannot spend my daily life with them any longer, I encounter the reminders of my dear old friends through the pages of a book, pictures from a magazine, or some unexpected songs on the radio.

Friend.

How warm, that word, friend. 

Friend.

Just by whispering, the warm feelings magically embrace me.

Like a big, friendly hug that welcomes me back into the good old days across the time and space.

Friend.

Thank you for the memories that strengthen me today.

I miss you, my friend.

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