You haven't been online for a while and I read that you have had a recent bereavement so I hope that when you do open up your mails this one will be welcome and encouraging to you.
You have a tremendous portfolio but I chose this piece because it's different to what I usually review - stories or poems. You have lots of accolades for your other work.
(To get this out of the way, before I comment on actual content - there are no grammatical problems and the vocabulary used is extensive and appropriate).
Firstly, this was a very thought-provoking piece; moving, too, by its compassion and generosity of spirit. It is genuinely uplifting.
I had to think about how I would classify or define 'friends' and 'friendship'. I suppose that I mainly, throughout my life so far, have had colleagues, acquaintances, friends and family. They overlap though - all my family are 'friends' - just by the nature of kinship; the bond is so strong. My husband is a 'friend' as well as a lover etc. I could turn to some of my colleagues for real acts of 'friendship' especially in a crisis, when friends might not be available.
I wondered how I had managed to divide them all up like this? Perhaps its when
I interact with them and what our roles
principally are at the time? Perhaps it's the perceived degree of distance that others impose. That sounds cold and analytical, however.
In your piece you talk of the growth of friendship and how it can be extended in small acts and it is the quality of feeling behind those acts which is important and, also, the willingness to trust. So a word we use with so little thought, often quite casually, can be very meaningful. and very important.
In the end I think it all comes down to intention and even if there isn't mutuality at first, by accepting that 'hand offered in friendship', we are making the relationship recognisably reciprocal in some way. It's about giving really - giving of the self.
Thank you for a wonderful read which will stay with me.