Tuesday, April 26, 2011

more than the book (lyn)

Tonight Andrea hosts book club.  I haven’t been since early January.  Penny even chastised me a couple of months ago, “I don’t care if you haven’t read the book.  We’re your friends, aren’t we?”  Her words resonate.  So even though I haven’t read the book, I show up.

I am the first to arrive and am immediately drawn to the sliced flank steak.   It’s delicious and I ask Andrea for the recipe.  "Oh, it's easy," she says.    “Just order the Korean sesame-marinated flank steak from Fresh Direct."   Andrea’s sautéed zucchini is also great.  I eat a few pieces, some grapes, and two small glasses of red wine.  I intend to stay for an hour or so, and leave when the discussion turns to the book whose name I can’t even remember.  But that’s not what happens.  Instead, I stay for two and a half hours, and enjoy the conversation that comes with friendship.

Here we are.  Six women who have been meeting to discuss books for a long time.  Some of us only see each other at these meetings.  But the connection is there.  I was asked to join the group seven years ago.  All of us have children and met though them when they were students at the same elementary school (not all in the same year).  Sometimes the group is larger than the six of us who meet tonight, but this seems to be the core. 

The night begins friendly-enough until someone says to X, “So, everything good?”  Rather than answer with the pat response of yes, X surprises everyone with, “No, everything is not good.  And I don’t like it when you ask me in a way that trivializes how I feel.”  This is not going to be an ordinary meeting.

As a group, we’ve experienced a lot.  Cancer, two husbands unexpectedly walking out with little more than good-bye, kids and the worries we have about them, new careers, ailing parents, children leaving home, and lost jobs.  We conclude that life can be difficult, and each of us contributes an unspoken worry that keeps us awake in the middle of the night.

Tonight is more revealing and comforting than any of the many books we’ve read.

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