One October weekday I met someone very dear for lunch. We had never met socially before, our relationship being previously professional.
We met to talk about Aaron, to talk about how we are getting on, and to brave the no-rules ground of growing a friendship.
We had a long lunch, full of sharing, coffee, crepes and a cookie. We talked about her work, Olivia and her transition to fifth grade, winning Charlie, and what missing Aaron is making us think about.
It meant everything to me to hear how much he means to her. It felt good to talk about him to someone who knew him so well, and in a capacity no one else could.
When I returned home after our lunch, I stood in a sunny spot looking out a kitchen window over the garden and trees along the back fence. I stood there a long time wondering how I could creatively represent the gift that was that lunch.
I wanted to bottle it's essence. To be able to take out a drop when I need to feel the love that Aaron created.
As is natural for me, my thoughts turn to food. What could I make that would represent those feelings? I thought of the chocolate chip cookie from the cafe.
Does friendship have a flavor?
Romantic love does, at least most of us associate it with chocolate. I don't think friendship love has any particular flavor. It is probably best represented by what is shared and what memories are created.
What is the color of friendship? What possible colors could I create from? Again, romantic love has come to be associated with red, purple and pink. Valentine colors.
I thought over our lunch, the cafe, what we were wearing. Those colors would have to do. Dark green, burgundy, gold, purple, brown, and because it has to be there, what I now call Aaron's blue.
These also happen to be the colors of Autumn. Immersing myself in these hues has helped me hold on to that day.
If I think about what I brought to that meeting, I understand how the importance of a day or moment heightens awareness of our surroundings.
A few weeks ago, Olivia and I stopped into that cafe for hot chocolate and cookies as a treat after the dentist. It was a dark, rainy afternoon and the cafe was crowded. The opposite of the sunny, sparsely occupied space of that treasured lunchtime. The feel was so different--instead of cozy and worn in a comforting way, the cafe seemed grimy, the florescent lights harsh and blaring, making the space look in desperate need of renovation. Olivia spilled her hot chocolate across the table into my lap, over her homework and my magazine. Grimy turned grimier, and after we had cleaned up, we left.
Olivia said she didn't like it there. I tried to explain how on a sunny day, it's different. It's gold and green and burgundy. There are smiley faces on the cappucino's and the crepes are buttery and filled with things that some grown-ups savor, such a chevre, all soft from the hot batter.
She wasn't convinced. At home I told her I wanted to make a particular chocolate chip cookie recipe that had nuts. I knew she was still working her way through her Halloween candy bowl. I wouldn't make that recipe, though, if she wanted to eat cookies, too.
She said, no, to go ahead and make it. She had her candy to finish up before we started making our Christmas cookies.
These chocolate chip cookies bear no resemblance to the cafe cookies. I don't really prefer the ones they make. They are too soft and too sweet. Yet somehow I needed to make chocolate chip cookies to remember that day.
The shortbread? Well, I was after the color. All Olivia can say about these is "they are amazing!"
I'm glad I went after the gold. Even Michael who likes chewy cookies praised these, eating some on the drive home last Friday night from a performance of The Nutcracker. We had had such a good time that I even offered a surprised Olivia seconds.
Another lunch date with my friend is being discussed, and no doubt from the next one will emerge a color scheme all it's own. The flavor will be a concoction that two deeply connected people, a family and a little boy whip up on a whim that day, full of love for each other.