It was a cool October Saturday; it started off dreary, but by afternoon, the California sun was shining.
I was just getting over a bad cold and still feeling awful. I wanted nothing more than to stay home in bed, but instead, I had a mandatory all-day class. So, as I’m prone to when I don’t feel my best, I put on my comfy jeans, an over-sized sweatshirt, and pulled back my hair. And make-up? Forget it.
It seemed like a whatever kind of class, until the professor announced that most of the morning would be ice-breakers.
Round one – meet J. She became a wonderful inspiration & friend to me later in the program before she left school.
Round two – didn’t leave an impression.
Round three – left the biggest impression. I met the quiet guy who had been reading the sic-fi book when I came into the room. I’ll call him “Will”, because, he reminded me of Will Wheaton. Ironically enough, the ice-breaker question our professor wanted us to discuss was what we did when we were sick as children & how we take care of ourselves now. That, naturally, led to a discussion of The Big Bang Theory (which I had re-watched many episodes due to being down with the cold).
There were a couple more ice-breaker rounds, but none really stuck with me.
I just remember thinking, “hey, I made a new friend who is around my age and maybe just as much of a nerd as I am.”
Throughout the day, Will & I chatted a little bit more. About this book series, that tv show, why we are in the program.
The day drew to a close. Will and I were standing outside of the school talking & I found myself saying, “You know, I’m hungry. I was thinking about grabbing an early dinner at in-and-out, would you like to join me?”
The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them, before I could register what was happening. But, he said “sure, let’s go”.
So we went. One meal. One afternoon. About two and a half hours spent talking. Talking about a lot of things: from the inconsequential (tv shows, books, movies, food, music, work) to the more serious (why we had chosen this school, what populations we’d like to help, matters of faith [or lack-thereof], depression/anxiety & how people cope, drug addictions [his past, not mine]). So much covered in a short time.
It was easy. I was relaxed, open, friendly. I was connecting with someone because I had made the decision to reach out. And, it was fun.
After that, a friendship began to slowly develop built on common interests.
But, only a few months after that October day, the fledgling friendship was abruptly haulted because death is cruel and life is sometimes cut short unexpectedly.
Though this encounter had a tragic ending, it’s a reminder:
I made a connection, began a friendship, because I cast off fear of judgement & rejection and extended an invite that was met with a “yes”.
If I could do it then, I can do it now.
It was One day. One afternoon.
It was a lesson in boldness.