Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gatherings and goodbyes for now

On the way to work this week I saw a little girl with dirty naked feet, a lady on a bench painting her face, three boys jumping off a bridge and swimming away. Also I noticed the water was flowing to its meeting point with other waters faster than I was walking; yet I arrived in time for a gathering for a friend and colleague. In our job sometimes for weeks or months even within the same language unit, one doesn’t run into each other, and often disasters in another’s life go unnoticed. This dear friend had been retired for a while and other mishaps had befallen her. She is strong enough now to face us all. It was a moving affair, since we all know how difficult it is to keep in touch. Without traffic jams we live three and a half hour away from each other. When in Arizona, that doesn’t bother me. In Europe I am three countries further down when I arrive. Our friendship grew on the half hour walks from work to the center of town. So we had a chance to talk about anything, not just shop. She is a sensitive, strong soul, working for migrant women, being a Portuguese migrant herself, throwing herself into the folk dancing from her country; also she is a specialist in old Roman mosaics… The wine flows easily, the fish is fresh and tasty, the company is warm and accommodating to the two only guests who do not share the language of the evening. In each new set of people we have to find the common language that is most comfortable to all. With the Portuguese the atmosphere is warm and the speeches flow easily and heartfelt. I’ll miss the sparkle in her eyes, and am grateful that she is part of my collection of strange souls…

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