|analytical Q||May-Aug 2000||Sept-Dec 2000||Contact||Discussion|
ONCE A YEAR, EVERY YEAR
I cleaned my place in anticipation of Hari's visit. This was the first time she's ever come to my London, and I wanted to give an impression of order not chaos. At 3 pm, the phone rang. She had gone straight to the hotel in the centre of town. Sure I'd meet her - in one hour I'll be there. She asked if I had seen any of the plays or shows. 90%. So she would try to get tickets for the remaining 10% I hadn't seen.
On average, we've managed to meet once a year. Last year in Seattle. '98 in San Francisco. '97 in Houston. '96 in Seattle. If not Hari, her family. Her sister visited London in 92 or 93. Her parents and sister visited Singapore in '89 thereabouts.
So here she is in London - finally! We're not the type of friends who need to "catch up." We just pick up where we left off. Each time, it's a different theme. We are opposites in many ways. Her voice is velvet-smooth and steady, reflecting her life rooted in family and friends in Seattle. My voice varies as much as my handwriting. Nothing is stable or certain for me. She is not surprised.
There is too much to say in a two-hour dinner. Even after dinner, after the play, after her husband joined us for drinks, there is still too much to say. Actually, with friends like this, there is no need to say anything. I am just comfortable being with them - half way across the world they've come. Our fathers all worked together. Our siblings played together. We grew up together.
The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, not saying a word, then walk away feeling like it's the best conversation you've ever had. Yes, we always have fantastic conversations, though I often don't remember what has been said.
The gang throughout the years:
More photos in the