Saturday, February 25, 2023


I read Alice Munro's Jakarta on this Saturday afternoon after my nap. It's the second story that appears in her collection, Family Furnishings (2014). As with most of her stories, a brief summary is difficult to formulate. There's the part where Kent—a pharmacist, who lives a normal life soaked in capitalism—visits Sonje, her ex-wife's bohemian friend many years later. Kent has a new wife, younger than his daughter, and together they drive across the country, visiting family and friends. Auntie Alice Munro's skill in storytelling is exceptional (I consider her to be in the same level as Tita Mavis Gallant, who writes shorter sentences), as she demonstrates in the insight she shares through Kent's experience. 

With every visit he had made on this trip, there had come a moment of severe disappointment. The moment when he realized that the person he was talking to, the person he had made a point of seeking out, was not going to give him whatever it was he had come for. 

Have I been disappointed with friends I hadn't seen in a while? Surprised, yes; but disappointed: never. 

Friendships are forged at particular moments of one's life. When friends part, the cloud of divergent experiences thins out. With the separation comes the inevitable change in their outlook, status, vocation, and interests. But I like to think that their core—who they truly are inside—remains the same. Reunions offer me a chance to appreciate those changes, as I thank God for people He has caused me to meet at some point in my journey.



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