Monday, April 16, 2012

Friends Who Ask Nothing

I don't really see myself as a painter/artist, writing is what I do, but I've been painting quite a bit lately. It's relaxing. the lighthouse is an old painting done for the painting class when I first moved across the country. I remember going to that class, a senior education class at a junior college, and feeling so strange with a roomful of strangers. I came to feel like that class was an oasis and those strangers my only friends.

They were women mostly, and approximately my age. They were so hospitable and nice, and some of them quite talented. The teacher was great...easy going and encouraging. She provided a list of needed supplies; and she never said an unkind word. Some of them had taken the yoga class I took for a while. None of them knew my circumstances or lifestyle and there was no need to go in to all that in order to be friendly. All they knew was that I had moved from the Northeast; married a man much younger; and had children, step-kids, and grand-kids. We didn't socialize outside of class but they did invite me to shows an art organization they belonged to held on occasion. They invited me to join, but I never did. Once I drove to the teacher's home to give her a kitten she wanted to adopt. Sometimes one of them would bake and bring goodies in to share. We exchanged small gifts at Christmas or hand-painted greeting cards. When after a year or so I became sick, they comforted me. They were empathetic and offered help that I graciously turned down. When I returned to class some months later with a bandanna around my bald head they complimented me. When my hair grew back they were thrilled for me. We spent the class painting and swapping stories about our grandchildren. I sorely miss those women.

People you meet in life who ask nothing of you except occasional camaraderie are undervalued. They are the best kind of friends. When I left, after that last class, I sat in the parking lot in the car and cried.