Sunday, August 12, 2012

anywhere else now seems like a million miles away

At my house today, brunch was had. It was had by many.

There was a trial run last week, but that one was different. It was the first time in a while that I'd tidied up enough to have people over, and it had morphed into a gigantic gathering. Everyone descended at once (a total of 12 people, which was far too much for my 6 person dining table) and it was a little chaotic. After I finished cleaning the kitchen, 2 stragglers showed up and ate leftovers while visiting. It was a fun day, but that brunch was somewhat stressful- it's been a while since I've had that many people over (my previous residences for nearly the last 10 years would have burst at the seams with that many people in my house), and I was out of practice for entertaining for that many as well as estimating how much food to make. Everything worked out and there were a ton of leftovers to spare, but I felt a bit tired after all the commotion settled down.

Today was different. Last night, I prepared almost everything needed for the brunch. This morning, maple pecan scones were already sitting on the counter, a strata was ready to be baked, and waffle batter that spent the previous night rising was waiting to be finished. It was all so simple that I started to worry that there were additional things I should have made. The first person, GN, came over at 9:45. He looked like a wreck. He had overnight call and was just finishing a 30 hour shift when he arrived. I made him two waffles while he was gobbling up scones. He ate the waffles hot and tried some egg strata, and then promptly took to my couch, where he completely passed out for twenty minutes. By then, the next person arrived.

She brought over a coffee maker because I don't drink coffee, and I do not really know how to make it, in truth. We chatted, making coffee, and eventually GN awoke from his temporary slumber, drank some orange juice and joined our conversation.

My friend who brought the coffee maker is vegetarian, so I made her a scramble with spinach, parmesan cheese, and mozzarella, which she dutifully ate while the rest of the waffles were cooking. Another couple of friends came, and brought big bowls of fruit. A few minutes later, another friend and her husband came with a Hawaiian dish.

We sat around the table eating and talking and laughing. Another friend stumbled in, hungover. We fed him, and he got a call from another friend, so we beckoned him to join us, which he did. A few friends left. Ultimately, the party did not disperse until 3 pm, and people left with little packages of food to take home with them. A few of us lingered in the kitchen together, talking of when we would all get together next.

This may seem all very commonplace and boring. The strange thing is I think I would have found this all very commonplace and boring ten years ago. But since then, my life changed so much, the focus of my life was so different, that I didn't realize how much I missed it until just today. Everyone had told me that I'd find lasting and long friendships in medical school. I didn't entirely believe them, because my experience inherently was bound to be so different than the typical. And sure enough, I have only a handful at most of people from med school who I even feel friendly towards- and of them, only 1 or 2 who I feel truly connected to. So I honestly didn't expect what happened this past year. It turns out that, as stressful and frustrating it sometimes it is, this residency program was the right one for me. These are my people. Not all of them, of course. But way, way more than I ever would have imagined.

It occurs to me, that maybe I have cobbled together the life I have always wanted to lead. And it's not to prove it to anyone else, or because I think it's what life should be. It's because this is what I actually, truly want in this moment, and I have it. The moment will pass. Of that, I'm sure. Life is not much fun if you are not in want of something. But still- at such moments, belly full and pleasantly sore from laughter, new waffle recipe recorded in my little book of keepers, dishwasher about to start running, I just want to hold onto the present tense and be glad for it.

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