A friend from Moscow, who was coming to our house to celebrate my birthday with me was refused a visa. Because, between the other things, they couldn’t see clearly why she was coming. Which made me thinking of what can actually can serve as an evidence of a friendship.
She is a singer. And as long as I know her I enjoy both, listening to her own songs and singing together, across times and locations. Do I have an evidence of planning my trips to Moscow so I could come to one of her concerts? I do have photos from those few that I was able to attend and posters of many more that I missed.
I wasn’t up for celebrating anything after my mother passed away two year ago. But once an idea of her singing in our house for my birthday came up I was up for a party. The one coming Sunday. It is still on, but will be different without her physical presence here. Still, I am very grateful that she gave me the impulse of doing it, as a sign that life gets back to normal.
Our FB “friendship” goes back three years. Does it say much about 33 years that we know each other? Can it show ups and downs, eating pasta with mayonnaise after school, sharing stories of falling in love and various songs sang together that come up thinking of when we were 15 or 22 or 30somethings?
Do I have photos of us together? Hardly. We don’t think of making selfies when I come staying in her house adding my three kids to her five. We cook and talk, feed the kids and make sure that they can play outside while we have some uninterrupted time for tea. We pack swimming gear, water and food to go to the lake nearby. Or we look for the right sizes of boots, gloves or skiing shoes, so my kids can enjoy building castles in the deep snow or try cross-country skiing in the fields behind the house. Or we escape to the sauna, to share stories of falling and standing up again, interrupted by her husband knocking on the door because her baby or mine is hungry and can’t wait any longer.
Do I have much evidence of her being next to me at the hard times? Two of us sitting in the kitchen (the one of pasta with mayonnaise) after the funeral of my mother? Her offer to host three of my kids when I was up to the last stretch of emptying the house I grew up? Coming to pick them up again instead of having a sauna time together when I couldn’t finish that in time?
I might have a bit of photos of the good times. Those where she sings at our wedding. Photos of camping at Valday (but how do you capture the fun of singing by the fire or jumping in the cold lake after the hear in the sauna tent?) I do have photos of our kids together in various ages and combinations. Of the capes that she made for her kids because mine had them. Of our kids making and eating sushi in her kitchen. Of them playing in their garden, in the deep snow or in the warmth of the sun.
But still, how much photos can say about the friendship behind? About the meaning of having a party to celebrate coming back to life after the hard times? About the fun of finally being able to share my house and my garden with her, after spending so much time in her house and seeing it morph from before kids “walls with window holes” structure into a family home?
Anyway. She changed the tickets to mid-January and we are up for a visa quest again. May be we should be smart and write an exciting tourist program for her in the Netherlands. That’s probably easier to justify than spending a week in my house with signing at my birthday, baking bread, working in the garden and sharing the life that I live here.