It was a happy night. I guess free alcohol at a work function will create a certain atmosphere. It made everyone light and people were laughing. I was tired and was coming down from the high of a very busy day, but I was happy too.
We ate and laughed and I didn’t contribute much to the conversation, but tiredness sometimes takes my words. I found my silence comfortable.
The plates were cleared and dessert was finished and people started to disappear. Before I knew it, it was only her and me left at our table.
And I’m not sure how the conversation started. I’m not sure what prompted her. But I sat and I listened as she told me more about her life than many who had known her longer knew. I wondered at that: why she felt I was safe to tell her secrets to when she’d known me no more than a month.
But she said she was telling me because she trusted me. She said she believed we’d be good friends. And so she was treating me like one.
My silence was comfortable and she took it as an invitation.
I didn’t mind. All that she said and the secrets she shared allowed me to see her more clearly. Allowed me to fill in more of the blanks of who she is and began to round out who she is as a whole person. And knowing the details of another’s life is a privilege. So I don’t mind at all.
I was more stunned than anything. I hadn’t seen the secrets in her eyes before she told me, so they’d taken me by surprise. But, more significant, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the trust she had decided to place in me. Because, goodness knows, I don’t understand people who offer trust so freely.
And after all, she didn’t know me from Eve.
I wonder when I’ll stop calling these people my coworkers and allow myself to use the word ‘friend.’ But the word ‘friend’ is sacred and I don’t understand people who offer trust so freely.