a streetlamp mutters

by rachel

in the quiet of the convention centre, on registration chairs that were awaiting no one, we tried to trace the birth of our friendship. we searched for details that could be labelled as the point of conception, the date of birth, the place of birth, our first steps – but they couldn’t quite be found.

was that moment the first step or the first crawl?

first word or first laugh?

my aunt is the youngest of many siblings and by the time she was due her mother’s womb no longer recognized the anxiety of delivery. birth rang the doorbell in the middle of a mahjong game and demanded a place at the dinner table when they were in a train carriage speeding towards the nearest hospital.

the place of birth on her birth certificate is listed ‘between lampposts xx & xx’

perhaps our friendship too was born between lampposts, arbitrary markings between distance and intimacy. that night we laughed our way from the spotlight of one streetlamp to another, pausing in between to talk or take a photo, faces pointed into the light, smiles pointed towards each other.

under the shutters, between the lampposts, i knew that the birth was still happening and that this was a friendship into which we could be reborn over and over and over.