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At three pm brunch, I am touching your boot while we talk and even though we’re not really friends yet, you say it’s okay and even nice. And I am a lady and you are a lady and maybe, because we’re similar kinds of ladies, it’s a healing gesture. So by four pm, we’re sitting there and talking and everything and I touch your boot and you say it’s nice even and what it means is, “yeah. We are both something that we’re trying to be.”

Because we sit in a triangle, we each take turns being the elbow of the joke. When you hear her say to me, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening, my friend is making marital decisions based on a webinar and premature aspirations to a political life,” you make a note of the use of webinar. You show me later and tell me about  your bandaid which says, “Keep Calm and Carry On” and your best friend who is gchatting with you. We each gchat with someone, today.  All three of us share a story about our mom. We have a band of stories. A band? A brood? A bottomless cup.

In my imagination, my two best friends are standing at a Japanese train station contemplating the Departures board. Because I have never been to Japan and because only one of them knows Hiragana and neither know Kanji, I’ve borrowed the board from Boston South Station. In reality, my two best friends are in Korea doing god knows what with I know who. I am waiting for you to get back so we can trio– one at a time checking vibrating phones or reading aloud from emails.

For Valentine’s Day your grandmother sponsored seven novenas from a pack  of nuns. A pack? A pool? A pod? She offers to raise any baby you might birth if you just want to drop it off with her. Your mother sends you a card and, instead of the usual five dollar bill, she encloses an article from Redbook on finding love at any age. It encourages you to go out for coffee, meet new people, to be open to love! In the margins she adds, “I completely agree!”

It is nearly an important birthday and despite the fact that we are no longer in touch, there are ways in which we are always touching. If you were here I would buy you Sour Patch kids and take you clearance shopping at Target. We could make cards together. We talked, for a long time, about getting tattoos together. They wouldn’t be the same, of course. They would just be different. Sometimes the only proximity is missing you.

I tell you about the most important thing that has ever happened to me– the elbow of my physical and psychic life, and surprisingly you thank me. Sincerely. I saw Lake Superior for the first time and it looked like an ocean but there were no whales inside. It was cold on the north shore because of the Lake Effect, but not as cold as I was expecting. Ice cream abandoned outside overnight melts into a cold soup the texture of melted ice cream. It surprises me that the settlers settled here. It made sense when I saw the lake in the valley, flat gray with bridges sticking out the top.

Something between us makes it easy to believe in God.When it’s windy, the air will cap the water white and even though the ice cream is liquid, it is too cold. We eat it anyway to show that we have retrieved it just in time.