First, a blissful Friday evening browsing small galleries of art in Durham, and then listening to a local jazz jam over home cooking and chocolate cake with a friend whose spirit seems to somehow match mine.
Then, after a morning in the Duke forest with classmates who teach me tree names and talk to me about their weekends, I drive off to Baltimore to visit Steph. David takes time out from his ridiculously busy job to ride the metro 45 minutes to meet me so we could all go to dinner together along with Steph's boyfriend, John. Over a big platter of injera and a lot of different dishes, we laughed and shared stories until our hearts and bellies were full up. Back at her apartment, we top it all off with gourmet root beer floats. John leaves, winking sweetly at Steph as he tells us to enjoy ourselves, and gives David a ride back to DC.
How wonderful it was to be with my dearest of friends, to feel calmed and lifted by her words and encouragement, to question each other on every issue on our minds, from health care and science journalism to what our choices in life mean. Most of all, to just sit near one another on the sofa, to just talk. In the morning we sleep late. We make brunch. I drive away.
When I get back, there's a care package from my aunt, uncle and cousins -- chocolate chip cookies, brownies, milano cookies, mocha granola bars, and VS bath products. I melt.
I swear, if I in the course of my life can give back as much happiness as I have been given, I will happily lie down at the end and feel I made something of myself.