The coffee shops are crowded, there are no seats left for us. You look at me to solve the predicament, but I give you nothing but a shrug. You sigh loudly and lean against the doors. You try to be nonchalant but I know you too well, I know you just want to sit and talk. So I go inside, order you your foreign-sounding tea and a new, trendy iteration of hot chocolate for myself. I return back outside, place your drink in your hand and link your arms with mine and say, walk with me.
Your true nature pounces at me, your questions are a flood. What are you doing? What is this? Where are we going? You look at me wide eyed and in disbelief. I laugh at you first, and then tell you to be quiet but using more profane diction. Just talk, I say, just talk.
And you do, a downpour of words you clearly had concealed and bottled in for too long. You begin with the inciting incident and I commence our walk. You lead me through the rising action, I meander us through city blocks. You get lost in the tale, you highlight details that could otherwise be skipped over but I don’t mind the inclusion of extras. Because the more you ramble, the more time we have to aimlessly stroll like this. Arm in arm, I glance back at your side profile and the way your head tilts back with every laugh. You laugh is that genuine type, the one that everyone else tries to imitate but never can. There’s authenticity to you, one I am constantly trying to capture.
While I am adrift in my analysis of you, you snap me back with a gesture. Hello, are you even paying attention? And you look at me and smile because you know what is about to come. I answer you with a word for word description of your story so far all the way to the climax. Did I miss anything? You respond with a laugh and continue on with the falling action, handing me your empty cup. I take the last sip of my hot chocolate as you conclude to the denouement. We’ve reached the end of the downtown core, and you look at me and say, now what? I throw our cups in a nearby can and tell you to wait one moment. I find another coffee shop on this block and order our clichés. I find you outside, hand you a drink and say, the seawall isn’t far from here. You smile and say, there’s something else I’ve been wanting to tell you.
There’s always another story, another tale to share after prolonged absence between two friends. These stories cannot be summarized over social media or futile texts. These stories are too vast and detailed. And maybe we are too impatient, or maybe this city lacks a sufficient amount of Starbucks, but sit-down encounters do not work for these types of stories. These stories have vividness and energy that can only be matched with movement.
So I grab your arm once again and say, walk with me, tell me all about it.