Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Cherry blossom floating candles

These cherry blossom floating candles, tiny and sweetly-scented, arrived in a package from my very dear friend in Japan. She and I have been friends since high school, and as the years pass, we’ve only grown closer in spirit. She is my “all-weather, all-season friend,” and someday I would like to live next door to her in the Napa Valley so that we can have tea and conversation together every afternoon. For now, from time to time, we send each other packages filled with loveliness from our respective corners of the world.

She sent me so many beautiful gifts in shades of pink and lavender this time:

Gifts from Japan

The coin purse is from Kazurasei in Kyoto, established in 1865 and most famous for artfully-crafted combs and hair ornaments to wear with kimono. The moment I saw this coin purse, I knew what I wanted to do with it. When the rain stops, I’m going to carry some loose change in it and walk to Starbucks for a cup of tea. I’ll wish my friend were with me, of course, but at least I’ll have these books and magazines to keep me company:


I’ve already started reading the little book on the left with its title that translates to something like Thinking of a Gentle Spring. My friend first introduced me to its poet-author in the early days of our friendship, and this volume opens with a simple, sweet tale of a friendship between two young girls named Milk and Cocoa.

One of the gifts came in this packaging the color of cherry blossoms. Like a fortune cookie, it reads, “If you understand nature, then you’ll be able to live a long happy life.”

Thank you, dear friend, for knowing me so well.

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When my best friend moved away, we promised we would write each other often. We were young, too young, I think, to realize that our friendship was extraordinary or that a promise like this is easy to break. Apart, you drift into new lives, grow up, and all the while, you don’t know how to bridge the miles in between.

I waited for letters from my friend. One or two arrived, and I wrote him back, but that was it. We lost touch for many years during which we grew up, married our respective spouses, and both became writers.

My friend and I got back in touch a few years ago, and now we exchange emails, manuscripts, and memories of our childhood neighborhood. I asked him once about the letters–the ones that never came–and that’s how I found out that he had written a dozen letters or so that I never received. He had always wondered why I had never written him back. Somehow, our letters, our best attempts to keep a childhood promise, were lost in transit.

What did my friend write in those letters? He doesn’t remember, and I’ll never know. This painting commemorates a friendship. Those letters, “they never came,” but our friendship survived even so.

See the next painting in the series.

“They never came” is part of a series titled “Lost Along the Way.”

4″ x 4″ acrylic and ink on canvas

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