I have a buddy at Second Cup. She’s a writing buddy, to boot. I have to admit though that I don’t actually know her name. She’s a beautiful older woman, in her fifties, with long hair that’s at once white and silver in the sunlight, with a thin under-layer of the dark brown it must have once been.
Every weekend morning, when I’m at Second Cup, I know she’ll show up. Maybe half an hour to an hour after me. She orders her coffee, she sits by or near me in the coveted window seats. If I’m not engrossed in writing, she catches my eye and we smile at each other in way of greeting.
She settles in and she begins to write. She writes longhand on napkins and scraps of paper. I type away on my laptop. I’m curious about what she writes, and I figure one day I might find out. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we both sit down and write.
She’ll watch my laptop when I hit the bathroom (I’m usually there for at least three drinks, one drink on the hour to earn my stay), and I trust her to do it. She usually leaves before me. Sometimes I see her go and smile, other times I look up and she’s already gone, quietly. Once in a while we exchange pleasantries, when both of us are at a writing crossroad. But never once did we ask any type of personal question.
I don’t know her name. I have no clue what she writes. But still, I consider her one of my best writing buddies. The trick, I think, is that we both show up to write. She’s consistent. It’s like we each know someone else will be there to write with us, and we won’t be so alone with our stories. When her hand flies over the recycled paper napkins, I find my fingers typing faster as well, as though her muse inspires mine. And the reverse is true, too. I’ve seen my muse kick hers awake.
When her writing doesn’t go well, she doodles. Usually a large messy circle as she stares out the window at the passersby. I wonder what she thinks then. I wonder if she’s thinking of what her characters are doing, of what she’d prefer to be doing, or of how she’ll eventually get published or, for all I know, of her latest New York Times #1 Bestseller.
I really don’t know, and she’s never offered or asked in turn. I think, in the end, what matters for both of us is the fact that we both show up and write. And we watch each other’s stuff to hit the washrooms.
That alone, methinks, will seal a friendship for life.