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The Best Friend I Never Met

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“A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?”- Khalil Gibran

I am starting to see a trend here. Blogging about unlikely friendships.

My friends are the surrogate for the family I love and miss, back home. I don’t have a lot of close friends, but the ones I have I care deeply for.

Take Livingston and Diana for example. All work gals, whom I have a deep friendship with. I think they will all agree, it took me a long time to trust ’em. With Livingston, was about a whole year before we became friends. I admit, I have  trust issues that keep me from sharing my life with others.  Alas, I’ve had the same problem trusting men. But that’s a whole new blog in itself.

Amazingly, every once in a while, I find that one person that I connect with instantly. Take Arpie for example. I met Arpie for the first time in 2007 in my first year at the Foundation. I don’t know what exactly stroke me about her, but I immediately felt an instant connection. Maybe because she is Armenian. She is one of “us”. I trusted her implicitly and we became friends.

Than there is Jen. Jen requested my friendship on Facebook about a year ago and on an impulse, I accepted it. I have never met Jen in person, and I don’t know her well,  but I am now pals with her and I admire her from the distance.  She is probably one of the most selfless, strongest women I have met. I want to be her when I grow up.

And then there is Farrah.

I hope I can describe through words what an unexpected, and faithful friendship this has become. I am still amazed about it and strangely, Farrah is one of my best friends. Thing is,  I have never met Farrah.

On the Tuesday after the Aurora horrific shootings, I was at my desk, when I noticed the voicemail light blinking on my phone. As I listened to my voicemail, I became more intrigued and confused. The woman on the phone had gotten my name from a local reporter and wanted to ask for permission to visit the “victim in the hospital”. Since I work for Global Down Syndrome Foundation, naturally, I felt intrigued. I called the woman back. And so it began.

Farrah, as it turned out, was a reporter in Texas, who was doing the story on one of the victims in the shootings. I spent a good 10-15 minutes or so talking to her and put her in touch with the right contact at Anschutz Medical Campus. Something about this woman really fascinated me. She had a slight accent. We spoke very naturally. We talked only about work and we were very matter-of-fact, and yet, it was almost as though we did not want to hang up the phone. She thanked me for taking the time to help, and she followed up with a message, one that said: “I don’t believe in coincidences, I believe there is a reason why we got connected.”

We have never stopped writing to each other since.

We truly became what in the old days used to be called “pen pals”.  I learned, through email exchanges, that Farrah’s name means “happiness” in Farsi. Now that I’ve known her for couple of months, I think it fits her well. She is East Indian. Grandparents hail from India, while her parents are from Africa. Was born in Tanzania, went to school in London and Canada. A nomad, she lived in different countries and states, till she decided to “live on the edge” and moved to a small town in South Texas, to witness the gap between the very rich and the gaspingly poor. (yes, I made up the word)

I feel compelled in my emails to her to be  honest and to trust her. She has found a way, through her writing, of  bringing me out of my shell and share personal things that I would otherwise never share, especially with… well, a stranger. We called eachother this past weekend and we just spent a long time chatting about work, my family, psychology, just about…stuff.

I have no inkling as to what drew me to make the instant connection with this stranger. Or how to explain her innate ability  to know I am having a bad day. Or how she knows to pick a perfect Paul Coelho quote that fits my mood in a certain day.  We think the same way and we like the same things. We both love to run and bike, we listen to the same kind of music and have the same fascination with the Middle East, Gibran and classic literature in general. There are strange similarities in our lives. Well, you get the idea.

I keep on trying to rationalize the strange coincidence of that one phone call. By all accounts, it should have never happened. A metaphorical Freudian slip of faith.

Will I ever meet Farrah in person? I hope soon.

But right now, I am  grateful for the “should have never happened” phone call that brought us together. And so here is to you Farrah, the best friend I never met.

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