I must have been six years old when Muema, my sitter in Brazil, sat with me on the front steps to our modest little house in Rio de Janeiro. Her brown, wavy hair was bleached by the sun with streaks of red and her skin shone bronze; I said I wished to be so beautiful,when she pointed to a good sized freckle on my left wrist. She said that was pretty to her, "muitu lindo", very pretty she said twice. It was like a speck of hope. I was sure soon my arms and legs and face would turn that fine shade of brown. It was a moment. We giggled and sat across from the majestic mango tree. How long does it take to firm up a memory that continuously brings joy? We bond in conversation or through an experience of being there, fully aware of one another. Togetherness is like being tucked by marshmallows in a heartfelt hug.
One by one we gather friends with memories and wear them with a smile. They are like in a string of pearls and they become us. True friends infuse a glow in our lives; we look forward to the next chat about this and that. Friends lift and sift our tales with an unconditional wish for a better outlook and outcome in our lives.
If you care to know the yearning in another's soul as a limb holds its leaves and blossoms, you are a friend. About fifty-four years ago I learned how it feels to have one like that. She read my youthful yearning and showed me how to count my blessings with the one freckle I named Muema. And now I have so many more. Yes, friendships and freckles go hand in hand for me. Can you remember that one point in time with someone who defines friendship 'till this day?