By Elisa Morgan
It was a Monday I think. An appointment made on the calendar one month prior. A monthly meeting. Because it was our December meeting, the idea of celebrating specially took hold and I decided to forgo our usual coffee shop spot and invite my new friend to my house to cook lunch for her.
As if to punctuate the season with nature's tinsel, snow fell that morning. Soup seemed in order so I opened my favorite Costco brand Tomato Basil and filled a saucepan. A simple salad would complete the meal. I set the table, lit a candle and turned to take in the surroundings.
The doorbell rang, my friend entered and we took our places at the table. At the last minute I'd scooped some fresh slivers of Parmesan cheese into a festive dish and offered them as a topping for the soup. We both helped ourselves to generous spoonfuls and started our way down our list of discussion to-do's while dipping into the steaming bisque.
I swallowed my first spoonful, tasting the tang and enjoying the warmth. Then, as I lowered my spoon back to the bowl, a string of Parmesan stretched from my lips down to the bowl, still attached to the spoon. I licked at the elastic-seeming strand and it snapped, flicking small bits of saliva in the air. Oh my. Apologizing for my faux paux, I raised my napkin to my mouth to wipe the spill.
At first I thought it would be a single awkward moment, covered with amusement. Until I looked up at my friend, a dribbly strand of cheese stuck to her own chin, and watched her twirling her spoon spaghetti-style in an effort to tame her own Parmesanian nightmare.
We kept at it for a few minutes - eyebrows raised at ourselves and each other and giggles punctuating our attempts to proceed. Finally, in unspoken agreement, we put our cheese-coated spoons down and moved on to the salad.
"Well I guess we'll either never see each other again or we're sure to be friends for a long time," I offered a cheese-coated smile - which she immediately returned - cheese and all.
While we'd already dipped our souls into several moments of sincere sharing, this "souper" moment tipped us into a new level of knowing. Messy is the table where friendship eats. Real is the soil where friendship grows. Honest is the sofa where friendship rests.
Looking back, I muse at how many times I've worked and toiled and pretended and striven to create friendship from the fabric of fake. Looking good. Talking right. Sharing achievements and covering up mistakes. While we can embrace and celebrate the moments when life is lovely, lasting friendship is formed when we vulnerably expose our needs, our lacks, our errors and our humanity. And when those very things are received by another human doing the same.
I'm grateful for that "Friendship Soup" and the lesson it left in the strings between my lips and my spoon. Yes, I lick around the edges of this memory and chuckle. And I also celebrate the passage from sorta friends to real friendship - with a little cheese on top!
Elisa Morgan speaks and writes to equip and encourage others. She is the cohost of Discover the Word. Her books include Hello, Beauty Full, The Beauty of Broken and She Did What She Could. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, on Facebook and elisamorganauthor on Instagram.