I can cry in the dark at movies. I can cry in an empty church - the Oxford Oratory's Lady Chapel has seen its fair share of my tears, as has the Oxford night when I've been walking home.
Today, though, I nearly cried in Nando's in the middle of dinner.
My Namibian/Saffa friend and I met up for a proper catchup for the first time in AGES. I met her by our couch when she emerged from my ex-housemate's room after a long weekend. The moment our eyes met, we knew we'd be friends for life. I'm in touch with her far more than I am with him.
We talked about all that had happened since our last meeting - we laughed, gasped in disbelief, vented. We had moved on to the stuff that separates acquaintances from friends when she said something that made me fight for composure:
"You know, Saturday night, [ex-housemate] had left and I was all alone and I couldn't sleep. I was really missing him, feeling completely alone and couldn't stop crying."
"You should have rung me!"
"No, wait. I picked up my phone and looked at it, thinking, 'Who can I call? Who cares about me? Who can I talk to?' Then I suddenly thought, 'I can call Irim.' Yours was the first name that came into my head. And my heart felt so happy knowing I could call you that I didn't have to, and I just went straight to sleep."
I was so completely choked up, trying not to cry in public, I'm not sure I gave a coherent answer. I don't think I told her that I had actually been *awake* at 3am Saturday night, restless and unsettled.
Later in the conversation, she said, very naturally, "You're my sister."
As you are mine, heartsis.
A whispered prayer to All That Is from this panentheist:
Thank you for all my blessings - for those that are obvious and those that seem like obstacles, for love, friendship, and everything that comes my way. For making me incarnate so I can love Your creation through gazing on it, holding it tenderly, listening to it closely, tasting it, inhaling deeply.
But today, thank you for reassuring me that despite my crap mass attendance and poor attention to all things religiously orthodox, I must be living at least a sliver of a life that You would approve of. If just one person feels that they can ring me from a dark place at the dark time of 3am, I must be doing something right.
Not much. But something.