The Steadfast Companion
On Actually Writing a Novel

The Joy Giver


Time with Kibibi is treasured and infrequent. We've known each other seven or eight years now. Been there through ups, downs, moves, relationships, and countless White Sox games and Thai dinners.

She recently visited family in Georgia and stopped through Nashville on her way back to Chicago. A couple of hours to introduce her to my favorite fruit tea and have a heart to heart.

The last time we'd seen each other was at a friend's wedding almost a year ago. Before that? I'm not sure. Despite the sparse occurrence the last couple of years, when we do see each other, it's as if time never passed.

As we sat together, sipping fruit tea and solving the problems of the world, I couldn't help but marvel at our friendship.

It impresses me: the friends you keep in spite of distance and lack of time. You get together after months or years apart and you might as well have just seen each other the day before. Conversation flows as easily as it did when your friendship was at its peak.

I'm not sure we've ever found a taboo subject. There's freedom in such honesty, in not needing a censor for the deep and difficult topics life brings our way.

We've always gotten along. But how to explain these silent patches? The inherent busyness of life and work, I suppose, as well as no longer having a group of friends in common.

Yet, despite all this, Kibibi is the person I could call at 2 o'clock in the morning and she'd answer. If I ever needed anything, she would be there, no questions asked.

Here's what I love most about my friend: her joy. She always finds a way to laugh and her laugh is infectious. I automatically feel funnier when she's around. Kibibi is spontaneous and up for anything. She used to call me her “road dawg” because she could count on me to do the same. Last minute theater performance? Sure! Head to a party? Why not!

Kibibi was there for the birth of Living Room Dance Parties, inspired by the closing credits of a movie. I no longer remember the title, just the sketch of a plot and a funny, yet dirty line. The music made me feel like kicking up my heels and so I did. I remember how happy Kibibi, Jill, and I were as we danced around that small space, taking care not to knock into the coffee table. 

There was the India.Arie show for her birthday with a rather long break between the opener and India's performance. We'd been enthralled by her Testimony: Volume 1 CD. As we waited, I sang the lyrics to one of the songs: “we're singing India, India, India.” Right then, India herself stepped out onto stage as Kibibi and I melted in laughter.

I wish there were more such moments the last couple of years.

We all need friends who bring joy wherever they go, in spite of or maybe because of circumstances. Kibibi is that friend and I am blessed to have her in my life.

I'm not sure I buy the saying that some friendships last for a season. We defy this logic each time we get together. I don't know when our paths will cross again but I know it will feel as if we'd just sat in Star Bagel.

Whether or not we've changed, whether or not a new season has come and gone, we still have much to learn from each other.

Who are the Joy Givers in your life?