Friendship is a verb


I ended the day with an anxious feeling about something I have been working on. Artistic things always make me anxious…i think it’s because I want to prove that my imagination is as awesome as I think it is. It’s complicated because as much as I want to prove my creative capacity, I also have to put away my ego to create good work. Anyway, when the anxiety began, the only thing I could think about was going to Darienne’s room to discuss it over tea. It’s become a regular thing now, I get anxious and we have tea. After we have tea, I’m not so anxious. I return to the work I know I love. Then I get anxious- then come back for tea and meme reviews. it’s a cycle. But it’s not as endless as it seems. It’s a cycle that’s supposed to stay cyclical because I love the work but the nature of the work is to be worried that the work itself doesn’t live up to the imagination of the work that lived in your head.

Anyway, yesterday,

I didn’t have a phone so I couldn’t call Darienne so I  decided to go to her room. Everything was there except her. The kettle, the tea cups, the french press; it was all there, except her. “Oh well” I sighed. I dropped my ridiculously heavy backpack and took the kettle into the bathroom and refilled it with the funny qaba plastic green wine glass she keeps by the tap. The water eventually boiled as it normally does. I looked for the tea I wanted, “but i do have a lot of work to do” I said to myself.  It was going to be a stronger, blacker source of caffeine for me this evening: I switched the tea strainer for the french press. Even though I was a barista last summer, I just never learnt  how to use a French press till she taught me a few weeks ago. She has also been teaching me French and Zulu simultaneously. I’ve also been learning Madlala speak which is full of words that only have meaning in the Madlala home.

My friendships- specifically, my female friendships- have given me a wealth of knowledge about myself. The most important thing that knowledge has done for me is tell me that I can fail without being a failure. The things I’m not so great are not the things that make me unlovable. In fact, as a human being who is determined to live a full life without harming other humans, I don’t think I should be unlovable.

The other day, someone left a note on my door saying “Take it easy.” I was having a really rough and long day and it magically made me understand that I didn’t have to live my life alone. In fact, it actually showed me that even though I thought I was, I wasn’t. People were leaving me notes to remind me about what I wanted for myself. It wasn’t even about what they wanted for me; it was about what they knew i wanted for myself. The note was signed “your admirer” but it was Stella. Stella knows what I want for myself because we talk and we listen.  We talk and we listen.

The other day, someone who didn’t know me sent me a message that seemed like a condescending request for my friendship. He was blocked. These days I’m quick to know what is harmful to me because I have been blessed to feel the things that have elevated the quality of my life to one that remains unrecognizable to the self that lived in this body a while ago. And for this, it makes me sad when I hear about women who give up the love that could have lived in a strong circle of friendship all because a man said they should not have friends…all because a man who is not sure of himself  cannot stand the scrutiny of people who may be able to see him clearer than even he sees himself. But what’s even worse is that sometimes, your friends don’t even want to scrutinize him. Sometimes- to quote Beyonce- We ain’t thinking bout you (Sir). We care about our friend. My love; we just want to hold you when he is not there. We want to clap for you when you need applause; we want to cry with you when you need the catharsis. We want to climb the mountains of your life with you so we can push you up when all that stops you from hitting the far ground is  a hand beneath you.

The water had boiled and the coffee had cooked and Darienne still wasn’t in the room. The coffee was ready to be had and still, Darienne wasn’t in her room…

But I wasn’t too worried; I knew where to find the Rwandan coffee so i didn’t have to look for it. “I think she said two teaspoons…”

I put three. Oh well.

I sat down and took the first sip.

And then I wanted to cry because I already felt better…and Darienne wasn’t even here yet.

Good friends are hard to find. But Good Friends are good to find.



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