November 28, 2015:
“You’ve cursed me Sarah…” I groaned my face planted on the library table. “There is no escape from this curse you’ve placed on me.”
“Oh stop being such a drama queen! You make my daughters look sensible!” Sarah replied not looking up from her magazine. “What did I supposedly do to you this time?”
I raised my head just enough to shoot a glare towards Sarah who sat unimpressed behind her magazine. “You’ve made me paranoid!” I argued. “You and all your talk about ‘You like her! She’s so sweet!’ We had such a good thing going and now I can barely talk with her without getting tongue tied!”
“Draaaamaaa Queeen!” my sister hummed. Seeing that I wasn’t so amused she let out a small sigh before continuing. “Don’t be like that. Nothing I did would’ve made you feel nervous if you didn’t have feelings going on already. Besides! I don’t want you being single all your life! You don’t handle solitude well.”
We both sat silent for a minute both deep in thought. As the silence didn’t break, Sarah put down her magazine and moved to the chair beside me.
“What is it that YOU want?” she asked. “Do you have anything against being with a girl like Lisa?”
Her question admittedly caught me off guard. I was expecting more arguments about not knowing what’s best for myself or taking things too seriously. This response had left me flustered. “No it’s not that.” I stumbled going red in the face. “It’s just…” I struggled for a second wondering myself what it was that I wanted. “I just don’t want to lose her.” It was no use. I couldn’t get my words in order. I would just have to let my brain run its course alongside my words and hope it made sense in the end. “She’s an amazing friend." I started. “She’s smart, funny, kind, and I’ve always felt really comfortable talking with her. I don’t know her amazingly or anything, but… it feels like we’ve known each other all our lives. There’s just this ease I feel around her that I don’t want to lose. I know myself. I’m not romantic, I’m klutzy, I trip over my words, and I overthink everything! I know that if I let my mind go into relationship mode then I’m going to scare her away and I don’t want that. I just want this friendship we have to last… even if it’s just for a bit longer.”
I looked up to see my sister looking at me. I couldn’t tell if it was humor or adoration in her eyes, but either way I seemed to have said something she was hoping for. “Then be her friend.” Sarah replied with a satisfied grin.
“You make it sound so easy!” I groaned
“That’s because it easy!” Sarah retorted. “Look! If you go through life wondering ‘Oh is she the one? Isn’t she the one?’ you’re going to ruin your friendship! When we look at people as potentials to date all we do is focus on our list of what we want and don’t want… and what we think we deserve and don’t deserve. But when you just try to be a friend to someone you look past that. You suddenly don’t have a checklist to be distracted by but instead see the parts of a person that you never thought to look for. If you’re meant to be together, it will happen, but if you’re not, at least you got to enjoy a truly rich friendship this way. So just relax already!”
I was unsure how to react to this. This was surprisingly deep and well thought out for Sarah. I mean there’s no way that it could really be this simple could it? But…. As hard as I tried, what she said seemed to make sense.
“Hey Sarah?” I asked. “Do you think Lis…”
“OH HI LISA!” Sarah called out cutting me off. Shocked I turned around to see Lisa waving at us only a few feet away with some friends.
“Thank you Sarah I owe you one.” I thought to myself as I tried to force the blood back into my cheeks.
“Hey guys!” Lisa called back running up to us. “What are you guys doing here?”
“Oh just having some loving sibling time!” Sarah replied over exuberantly while pulling me into a side hug.
“Subtle Sarah, very subtle…” I was beginning to have second thoughts about the owing her one.
“Aww you two are sweet!” Lisa laughed. “Actually Rin, I was just about to text you. Do you mind if I borrow you for a bit?”
“Pfft! Don’t let me stop you.” Sarah exclaimed. “I had some stuff to do today anyways. You just can’t trust this younger brother of mine to be alone so I figured I’d make the sacrifice and look after him.”
“You are truly a noble person.” Lisa joked in return.
Sarah said her goodbyes and then began to stand up. Giving me a subtle wink she quickly fled the scene calling out, “Don’t keep him out too long! He gets cranky if he misses his bedtime!” Just Lisa and I were left behind.
“Your sister is so much fun!” Lisa cheerfully exclaimed.
“Oh yes, she is just a barrel of laughs.” I replied deflated. “So what is it you were wanting to
talk about?” I asked turning to Lisa. “Did you have a question about the project?”
Lisa shook her head. “No,” she replied, “it has nothing to do with school. I was wondering if you could help me with something else.”
Lisa’s face went a little red as she asked this. We had been hanging out quite a lot the past few months, but we had never done anything outside of schoolwork together. Could this be her way of saying she wanted to get to know me better? Or was my awkwardness at school showing too much and she wanted to make sure everything was alright? I HAD to find out!
“Sure!” I replied, maybe a touch more eagerly than I should have. “What’s on your mind?”
Lisa smiled, obviously relieved at my answer. “Thank you!” she replied. “Oh! First I’ll introduce you to the others!”
“Others?” I thought to myself. But before I had much time to think, Lisa had begun leading me to where the girls she had been with earlier were standing.
“So the prodigal cook arrives!” the first girl exclaimed. She was a tall girl, very athletic, and seemed very confident. “Seems like you’ve really caught Lisa’s eye the other night!”
“JORDAN!” Lisa cried out. Jordan apparently was a girl who didn’t hesitate speaking her mind.
“Jordan! You’re going to scare him away before he knows us if you aren’t careful!” the second girl scolded. She was about Lisa’s height, dressed well, and seemed rather studious. “Let’s try this again!” she said turning to me and reaching out her hand. “My name is Beth Anders. My enthusiastic friend there is Jordan Vaike, then there’s Kelly Chot, and of course you know Lisa.”
“Umm… a pleasure…” I replied not really certain what I had just gotten myself into. I turned to Lisa. She looked a little nervous, but when she noticed me looking at her she forced a weak smile.
“Lisa has explained the situation to you correct?” Beth asked.
Seeing me shake my head Beth shot a quick glare towards Lisa who quickly tried to explain. “I didn’t want to keep you all waiting any longer!” she replied. “So I figured it would be easier to explain it with you all here.”
Receiving a nod of understanding from Beth, Lisa turned back to me. “We’re all neighbors from farming families Rin.” She began. “Every year our families put on a special dinner to celebrate the Christmas season with some of our biggest customers as well as to raise awareness of our farms.
It’s not a massive event but there are a good number of families that arrive and it’s become a pretty important tradition for us.”
I nodded in acknowledgement still not entirely certain where this was all leading to. Lisa continued. “For the last few years my friends and I have been in charge of organizing the event, and it’s usually been pretty straight forward, but this year old man Jefferson is in the hospital after a skiing accident leaving us without a cook.”
“Thus where you come in.” Beth added giving me a suspicious glance.
“I know it’s a lot to ask on such short notice!” Lisa quickly replied, “But you did such a good time that one night, and your sister said you’re used to cooking for large parties of 30-60 so you were the only one I could think to ask! If you don’t want to do it than that totally makes sense but I just thought I…”
Lisa stopped as I put my hand on her shoulder. “Of course I’ll help you out!” How couldn’t I? It was easy to see that this meant a lot to Lisa, and she was right, it was something I had experience in. After all, Lisa and I were friends, and this is the kind of things a friend would do right? My sister was right. I didn’t need to get distracted by thoughts of relationships. It was just getting in the way of me enjoying the great friendship I had.
“Oh thank you!” Lisa cried out giving me a giant hug. “Oh!” she exclaimed quickly backing off again. “Sorry about that, that was a little uncalled for. I was just, really thankful.”
“That’s okay…” I replied a little flabbergasted. “Just focus on friendship. Just focus on friendship. Just focus on friendship.” I thought to myself repetitively.