Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Denise Hildreth

I had lunch with a friend today. I do this quite often. I’m supposed to be writing, but come eleven am, I’m thinking “pizza sure sounds good.” My sister-in-law is the perfect pizza woman. Then I have the fajita girl friend. She hates the onions so I always have to get them on the side. And then I have the “Lilliebelle’s” friend. This is my best friend, and this is the best girlie girl restaurant in downtown Franklin, Tennessee where I live. They have afternoon tea at two p.m. and the best crab quiche you’ve ever eaten. They have a hat rack in the back in case you forgot yours and on some afternoons you’ll catch mothers and their little girls having a tea party.

But today it was just a Greek salad at Panera and the company of a beautiful friend. There was one point after the my salad was finished that I fidgeted in my seat and thought, “Well, that’s done, guess it’s time to go.” That was when she began to tell me a story. A story about her. A story about her I’d never heard. And I knew instantly there wasn’t one other place in the world that I needed to be then fully present in that conversation.

So, I put my elbows on the table, rested my chin in my hands and listened to another piece of the heart and life of my friend. Her beautiful green eyes reflected the intensity of that childhood experience, even twenty years later. And my stopping to listen allowed me to enjoy this experience that I so rarely stop to truly experience. Almost an hour later we had both gone to two very deep places in our childhood that now affected our present. And we understood each other better. And I realized once again that friendship is about going to the deep places.

I’ve experienced recently the joy of a new friendship and the loss of a lengthy one. I’ve gone back to the place where you’re telling “your story” for the first time to someone and hearing theirs. And then I recently found that someone who I had a relationship with for thirteen years wasn’t willing to travel waters that posed a needed conversation. Forgetting that often it’s the challenging conversations in friendships that can reveal things about ourselves, and can take our friendship to an even deeper level.
Life can get so busy. The joy of relationships and discovery is still capable of becoming mundane and trite.

So, next time you’re sharing pizza, conversation and just each other’s company, linger a little longer after the check has been paid. Look into their eyes and listen to their story. Even if you think you know everything there is to know about them, you might find that there are amazing things yet to discover.

Denise Hildreth is an author of five southern novels, her latest is "The Will of Wisteria". She makes her home in the beautiful hills of Franklin, Tennessee. And loves a good coca-cola and lunch with friends.


River Jordan said...

Okay. Here's the deal. I'll tell you a River Story if you tell me a Denise Story. We can eat moonpies and drink cokes if you want and go hang our feet off something that looks like dock hanging over the water and roll up our pants legs and swing our feet back and forth like we have all the time in the whole wide world. Really.


Anonymous said...

Love your comments about new writers needing psychological support before POV, plotting, etc.

POD my first book...readers love the story, editors have me dead to rights!

BUT I did it! Faux pas and all! Thanks for reminding us we can become great writers if we hang on tight!

CJ said...

Hi Denise. Just checking your blog out. I live in Franklin, NC and am looking forward to spending Sat 7/25 with you at our church. Can't wait. Carolyn Gardner

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