I have a friend.
I mean, wait, hold on, back it up – I do have multiple friends. Honest. Cross my heart & hope to die and all that silly goose.
This is a post about one friend in particular. I do not know her name. And no, it’s not like that.
I met her shortly after I first moved to DC. I’d gone to a work happy hour in Bethesda, had a few beers, and was fairly pleasantly buzzed slumped on a bench at the Bethesda Metro station, waiting for a train, when I was approached by a reed thin Asian woman with a bike. She noticed my face was kind of red (which happens when I’ve had too much to drink, am warm, or – aw, hell, I’m always bright red: I flush pretty damn easily, folks) and asked me if I was drunk and okay. I think I told her I wasn’t as intoxicated as I wanted to be, but, yes, I was fine. We struck up a conversation that carried onto the train and ended when I reached my stop.
I’m not quite sure what we talked about. As I mentioned, this was several years ago, and I’d been drinking. She told me she’d previously worked for Radio Free Asia, and was originally from Asia. I mentioned that I worked part-time at The Bookstore, and she told me she would see me there, as it was one of her favorite places to browse and read.
It was about a year later before I saw her again, this time at, as she’d predicted, The Bookstore. We struck up conversation and ran into each other quite frequently after that. She has a way of speaking that, when broken down, is very understandable statement by statement, but when thought back upon, seems completely and utterly abstract and almost incomprehensible.
And then The Bookstore closed. And it was sad — and I was very sad — but life goes on, and I still saw her on occasion. She’d recently moved and was living a few miles north of me, so every now and then I would see her furiously biking downtown or uptown, once I saw her walking with a guy in Woodley Park, but we were on opposite sides of the street.
Last week, for reasons unclear to me, I was walking home from the Cleveland Park Metro station. When I mean unclear I don’t mean that I’d been drinking – I mean that I’m not quite sure why I’d chosen that stop. I think that was the night I’d gone to see Midnight in Paris with my Office Boo, which means I probably rode the train all the way back to Grosvenor where she’d parked. I guess I just didn’t want to deal with that long line of people trying to get off the platform at Woodley Park.
In any case, so I’m walking home from Cleveland Park. And who do I see approaching me as I step onto the bridge over Klingle Valley? My biking Asian friend!
So I waved, and she stopped, and we talked, and we caught up. As our conversation reached its end – she wanted to get home and had a few more miles to bike, I wanted to get home and go to sleep – she reached out and patted my belly. “Don’t get any bigger,” she told me. “You’re cute now, soon …” and she sort of made an “ehhhh” noise and shook her head.
Message taken: I do need to stop eating the crap that I eat. More fruits and veggies, less sodas and pizza. On nights I don’t have to work at the Cinecave, I’m going to make more of an effort to either get off a few stops before or after my destination and hike home, or get to the gym for some quality cardio time. I don’t know her name, I doubt she knows mine, but she’s looking out for me. That’s pretty awesome.