Do you know that horrible and dark feeling when you’re walking up a set of stairs and you know there’s one more step, except there isn’t, and for a brief, harrowing moment, even with your foot just inches off the floor, you’re falling, helpless; what once was an absolute truth to you, ceases to exist in the blink of an eye. Know that feeling?
Yeah, friendship is nothing like that.
True friendship, while sometimes a bit harrowing (especially with friends like Zelma), is a beautiful, stable and permanent thing.
Let me demonstrate for you.
Picture if you will, a swamp. Not a big Florida swamp, more like a smallish area of knee-deep water in the Finnish woods. Now picture two girls, about nine or ten years old, playing at the swamp, jumping from one little grassy island to another. Ziva is the one in orange jeans and Zelma is the one with pigtails.
Now picture a cat. She belongs to Zelma, but in reality, she belongs to no one. She comes and goes as she pleases, and only seeks out the company of people when she can't be bothered to catch her own dinner. She's a tabby, and she's sitting by a tree, watching the girls play. To anyone watching her she appears bored, which would make sense, because she is.
She’s not really paying attention to what the girls are saying -- a big mistake. The girls are getting excited now, voices raised. They’re scrambling around, trying to find a suitable piece of wood. They find one; a two-foot long board, and they test it to see if it floats. It does, as wood has tendency to do.
Ziva, in her orange jeans, is animated, gesturing and laughing, plotting. Zelma is laughing, too, but it’s not clear whether she’s laughing at Ziva, or with Ziva. Either way, she’s clearly onboard with whatever it is Ziva’s up to.
Ziva grabs the cat and Zelma holds the board steady. Onto the board goes the cat and out into the swamp goes the board. Laugher and panicked meows mingle in the air, an awkward marriage of happy and horrified.
The girls are watching the amazing sailing cat, slowly traveling across the vast ocean. The cat isn’t as happy, of course. She’s frantic, tail bushy with adrenaline. She’s gone from lazily enjoying her life to survival mode in five seconds flat.
On solid ground, Ziva and Zelma are too busy enjoying the spectacle to consider terms such as “animal cruelty” or “horribly mean little girls”, and they scream with laughter as the poor cat makes a jump for it, narrowly misses the dry grass and ends up with a very wet tail.
Back in the now, Ziva and Zelma have a developed a fashion sense and a conscience, but one thing remains the same; whether the suggestion is to run away to Sweden, get drunk in a cave, or put on an impromptu flute concert in a park, the other one is always game.
And that’s what friendship is; never second-guessing each other’s decisions, always being there for them, and sometimes simply joining them in the crazy.
This post is part of Nicky and Mike’s 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing challenge. Today’s prompt is Friendship. Go check out We Work For Cheese for a list of the other participants. *