Friday, September 5, 2008

Lunch Friends

They didn't really have much in common other than sitting next to each other in class.  And that they both liked Tia Maria and coffee for lunch.  "Let's get out of here," Deidre said.  "This is making me crazy!  I'll drive."

"Of course," Dana thought to herself.  "Who would want to ride in my beater station wagon when we could take the 'vette?"  It was one of the many differences between the two.  Deidre drove a silver Corvette with removable T-tops.  The car matched her personality, always front and center, catching a lot of attention.  Dana drove a 10 year old Dodge station wagon with a broken spring.  The body of her car leaned to the left and had long ago lost any shine that may have covered the ugly tan paint job.  Still, it ran well and it got her where she wanted to go. Always practical Dana liked to declare, "A car is just a way to get from point A to point B."   But, secretly, she was always relieved if she got to the parking lot and there no one was there to witness what she drove.

The cars were a symbol of the differences between them, and yet there was something that drew them together.  Was it just the lunches out?  Or the fact that being in school drove them both kind of crazy?  Or so Dana pretended.  Perhaps it was that Deidre talked and Dana listened...who knew for sure? It was one of those 'odd couple' kind of things where opposites attract. 

"Thank God we're out of there," Deidre moaned dramatically.  Then, changing her tone, "It's such a nice day!  If I was leaving for home I would take the T-tops off, but I don't want to leave the car open in the parking lot.  Let's just go."  Deidre turned the key and revved the engine. Dana sincerely enjoyed riding in this car.  It was exciting and glamorous, qualities her rather mundane life often lacked. Deidre was exciting, too, in a way that Dana was not.  She seemed to seize upon life, living for the moment, not taking anything very seriously.  People were attracted to her in the same way that a moths are attracted to light; they enjoyed basking in her warmth and they reflected her  glory.

Dana, on the other hand, was more introverted and quiet.  Generally, she went unnoticed.  People thought of her as kind, helpful and smart, but in other ways, in social settings,  she was of the invisible outsider.  "Better that than the way it used to be,"  Dana thought to herself. As she rode toward the bar, she  remembered her high school days when she had been victimized by a gang of mean girls and bullies.  Never considered cool or popular, Dana had grown used to the idea of being alone.  As a result she could never completely understand or feel comfortable in her friendship with Deidre.  Dane knew that she cared more and invested more into the relationship. And she understood that eventually Deidre would move on, perhaps to another needy person, like Dana, or maybe to someone more like Deidre herself.  

 'It's  just a matter of time. Popular people don't hang out with geeks for long,"  Dana continued to ponder as Deidre sped down the highway,  waving to those drivers who honked and winked at her.  "Nice ride!"  or "Wanna' race?" they shouted out, flirtatiously.  Deidre flirted back and  laughed, enjoying every minute of the attention.  For her part, Dana just enjoyed being along for the ride.

They swerved into the parking lot, tires screeching in their own excitement.  "We're here!  Diets be damned!  Let's get whipped cream this time!" Deidre exclaimed.  Dana happily agreed.  "Diets can wait 'til tomorrow!"  She realized that this moment, like their friendship, was fleeting.   Yet, while sipping her coffee, Dana felt content.  " On my own I would never have ordered this for lunch.  It feels nice to be here with someone...with Deidre.  It may not be forever, but it is enough for now."


Lin said...

It's a good story, Diane. One I think many of us connect with. I've had a few of those friends who I didn't "belong" with--one that was shinier than me or even one that was quieter than me. You are right--those aren't long term friendships, but they certainly can be fun along the way. While they last. I think we can grow from these relationships too.

Your stories are real and that's what I like. It made me think on a couple of levels. Are you back to fiction? Good for you!!!

butterfly woman said...

I liked this story, esp. the insight into the one character. It is very Zen. If we think too much we might miss the moment. Keep the good effort going. Writing 'fiction' is not hard - one merely needs to draw from experience or perceived experience.

Petula said...

Very interesting! I like that it engaged me right away. I have a very short attention span, but I couldn't stop reading. That's good. My oldest daughter had a similar experience like this, which we were just talking about the other day... sometimes friends are only for a reason and a season then it's time to move on to the next.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I look forward to seeing you around!