There comes a point in every friendship where you know someone long enough that they feel the urge to introduce you to their family members. When this happens, I smile and say “Neat,” or “I cannot wait to attend an overpriced brunch during inconvenient hours so that I can get to know someone who is important to your life but probably never will be to mine.”
We’ve all received the text “My sister is flying in next week. You guys will LOVE each other! Let’s do brunch.” This textual suffering occurred to my person approximately two weeks ago, and I am pleased to share the overly-detailed account below.
After I read the text message, the following realization engulfed my conscious thoughts: I would have to rise from my bed at a reasonable hour, put on clothing, and rehearse a handful of anecdotes that could connect to a vast spectrum of potential conversation topics.
I considered backing out from my wretched fate, but then I remembered that I really do value my friend. I foresee our friendship lasting at least a few more years; if I don’t meet the sister now, it will just be dangling over my head for the foreseeable future.
On Brunch Morning, I resolved to put on a good face and happily fork over fifteen dollars for wet eggs and four dollars for a thimble of coffee. I was not at my tip-top mood, but my friend and her sister never would have guessed by my beaming visage as I greeted them outside the cafe.
Friend, Sister, and I brainstormed our menu decisions aloud and giggled about how many mimosas we could stomach in one sitting. After twenty-three sentences of conversation with Sister, my attitude did a 180. I wasn’t just sitting there tolerating her presence: I was enjoying it.
I enjoyed it so much that when Friend had to use the restroom, Sister and I had an effortless conversation without any nervous phone-touching or window-gazing. Where had this enchantress of talking and human connection been hiding all this time?
When Friend returned, I saw a look of jealousy dart across her face. Sister and I were getting along a little too well. Were we about to make her the odd one out?
I didn’t want to play the part of traitor, but I also didn’t want to give up on a new friendship that was blossoming at a rate that would put Jack’s beanstalk to shame.
A complicated emotional matrix of who’s-the-third-wheel underscored an otherwise lovely dining experience. To ease tensions and distract from misgivings, I bought everyone a dessert mimosa and covered the tip.
I was, despite my loyalty to Friend, utterly enamored by Sister—the way that her arm held a bracelet, the way her nose wrinkled when the waitress announced that the omelette du jour featured cilantro, the way she wove a rich narrative detailing the previous night’s failed attempt to go dancing.
Her words hit my ears like oil hitting the Tinman’s rusted joints. She made me feel so alive! I laughed easily at all of her jokes, and she seemed to appreciate my pragmatic side.
Friend looked at her phone and frowned. She announced that she had to leave immediately for urgent work-related purposes. Sister and I groaned empathetically, but we both explained that we wanted to stay out a while longer.
We spent the afternoon wandering the city streets, window shopping, scolding men, and discussing our fondest memories of Friend. It was, in short, an unstoppable explosion of friendship.
You might be thinking—based on my heightened diction and impassioned tone—that Sister and I are romantically compatible. Your mind is in the wrong place. We had stumbled into something wonderful, but that something was distinctly within the realm of friendship.
After our glorious afternoon jaunt, I felt riddled with anxiety. I needed to publicly choose between Friend and Sister. Partaking in friendship with both would result in hurt feelings, guilt, jealousy, and confusion. My faint heart is ill equipped to handle all that.
Ultimately, I chose Friend. Sister lives hundreds of miles away and no longer participates in social media which are obstacles to our friendship and the only reasons she did not earn a perfect 5-star rating.