Anais Nin, the enigmatic French author famous for her journals spanning 60 fascinating years, wrote :
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world dawns."
It would be hard to say whether King Solomon was made more alone by his many wives or by the prison of his throne.
Nonetheless, King Solomon wrote :
"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow:
but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."
It is what is so very lacking in today's cyber-society where everyone is twittering, but no one is listening. Or giving a damn. They are hunched over their blackberries, waiting impatiently for the message to end so they can jump in with, what is essentially, a "Listen to me!"
Because so few of us have it, friendship and its portrayal are what will bring us back to a novel over and over again. I know that it is the case for me. And for the friends I talk to.
Frodo and Sam. Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Spencer and Hawk (from the always entertaining Robert B. Parker series.) Elvis Cole and Joe Pike (from the Robert Crais fascinating detective series.) Bill and Ted. Calvin and Hobbes.
Family is a crap shoot. Love cools. But friendship endures.
Friendship is one of the cornerstones of my surreal Noir,
BEST OF ENEMIES -
Observe these 3 teen girls, now enemies soon to become friends:
Alice Wentworth - crushed by the death of the only young man who ever saw her as she was and still loved her.
The two girls Alice blames for Victor's death,Becca and Trish, "sisters" not by blood but by shared hardships living on harsh streets.
In a Katrina-devasted French Quarter, they are waiting for the ride that will take them to a school unlike any other on earth.
The next dawn came all too soon for the three of us. We stood unhappily in front of Meilori’s, our stylish purses in hand. Becca tapped an impatient toe of her combat boot as we waited.
“Enough of this,” she snapped and started walking down Rue La Mort.
“Stop!” I cried after her. “Captain McCord told us to wait right here. Our ride would come to us.”
Becca yelled back over her shoulder. “I’ve been making my own way for most of my life, Little Miss Muffet. I can find that old stupid ‘spook’ school myself!”
Trish looked worriedly after Becca walking farther and farther away from us, and I shook my head. “Captain McCord always has a good reason for his requests.”
She wrung her tiny purse in her even smaller hands. “I don’t doubt that, Wentworth. But ….”
Trish ran after Becca, calling out to me, “But Becca’s my sister. I can’t let her storm off alone like this.”
I saw Becca stop to let Trish catch up. Becca said something brass but friendly nonetheless. She hugged Trish, mussing up her hair. Then, the two of them walked off, hand in hand. They were probably walking to their deaths. But at least they had each other.
And I? I had no one. No hand to touch, to hold mine in the darkness. I watched their forms grow smaller and smaller. I ground my sharp teeth.
Becca and Trish both did not realize that once they strayed from Rue La Mort, the streets became increasingly flooded. Their new clothes would soon be soaked. They might well be carried away by the waters or the military looking for looters.
Victor had cared for them. Captain McCord had entrusted their care to me. I shook my head angrily and became mist.
It took me only seconds to catch up to them in my mist form. They, of course, were heading in the wrong direction. I materialized in front of them.
“Shit!” went Becca. “I hate when you do that!”
“You are going in the wrong direction, you two.”
Trish held what was senselessly called a “cell” phone in her hand. “No, we’re following Google Map. St. Marrok’s is right in this direction.”
I frowned, “What is a google?”
Becca slapped her arms along her sides. “God, Wentworth, just because you were born in the 19th century doesn’t mean you have to stay there.”
Trish said, “It is an internet search engine.”
“A car of some sort?”
Becca groaned, “God, just shoot me!”
Trish sighed, showing me the tiny screen held in her hand. I studied it. It revealed a map of the French Quarter – one that was incorrect.
I shook my head. “This map is incorrect. I have lived in New Orleans since 1840, and I know for a fact that St. Marrok’s is in the opposite direction.”
Trish paled, “You don’t think the Sidhe can affect the internet, do you, Wentworth?”
Becca snapped, “Why would the Sidhe do ….”
She and I looked at each other and both exclaimed at the same time, “A trap!”
We looked all around us. Nothing. Yet. All three of us hurried back along the way we came. Perhaps the trap was farther back down that incorrect street. I could only hope so. Trish bumped awkwardly into me as she swiped angrily at the buzzing mosquitoes swarming her.
“Drat! These things are driving me crazy!”
She pulled up to a stop, glaring at me. “They aren’t biting you or Becca. And you two haven’t even broken into a sweat despite this air you can wear. What gives?”
“My body naturally repels the mosquitoes. And I have never been warm in over 175 years. I would wager the Turquoise Woman’s magics alter Becca in a similar fashion.”
Trish groaned, “Great. I get to show up at my first day of school covered in sweat and welts.”
I shook my head, repeating Victor’s mantra, “Not on my watch.”
The finger-tips of my right hand became mist. I ran them along Trish’s back. She wiggled and shivered.
“Ooooh, that tickles!”
Becca arched an eyebrow. “I didn’t know your door swung that way, Wentworth.”
“Observe the mosquitoes,” I smiled dryly. “Or the lack of them rather.”
Trish looked all about her and hushed in a breath. “No mosquitoes! And I am cold. Cold! You – are – a – magician!”
She hugged me happily but bounced back when she realized she was embracing the enemy. Still I would remember that hug. I was being foolish I know. Yet, it had been so very long since I had a female friend. Even longer since I had been hugged by one. So very long.
Trish looked over my shoulder. “What is that?”
I'll let Mark Twain have the last word on friendship : "Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with."