1. To walk about at large, to roam without restraint; to move about freely in space, wander at will.
2. To speak or write at some length; to enlarge; to be copious in description or discussion.
I spent the morning expatiating, in both senses of the word, with my friend Camilla in the Villa Pamphili park. We wandered through sun and shade, stepped around puddles, paused and gestured for emphasis, and covered all of the topics new friends find themselves covering: life, plans, confusions, kids, other new friends, grandparents, religion, food, tea or coffee, sisters, blogs, books, jobs, husbands, hometowns, the past, cooking, friends, writing, childhood, life in Rome. She’s come to Rome from Oslo with her husband and two little boys, and will be here for four years while her husband works at the Norwegian Institute. We walked slowly while the Roman joggers passed us, listening to their i-pods, talking on their mobiles. Vivi Bistrot had just opened for the day, so we sat in the sun on their patio for a good hour, eating cornetti integrale with bitter honey and sipping tea (Camilla) and cafe latte (me).
New friendship is like getting to know a new place in a particular season. You think you have a good idea of what a landscape or city looks like, in the fall, say. The light slants a certain way, the trees and flowers have certain aromas, it’s cool in the shade and warm in the sun. We met each other two months ago. We’re both 34 and living temporarily in Rome. Our lives exist as they do here and now in the particularity of these circumstances. But as we walk and talk, through the seasons, we’ll get to know each other in different air, light, and seasons.
Thinking about this brings to mind my good friend Liz. When we met, I was pregnant with Jack, just on the cusp of the biggest change I’ve ever gone through. We know each other well, but she’s always known me as a mother. I’m the same person, but also very different. I wonder what she’s doing, now. Still working on that community garden? I don’t want to say we’ve lost touch, but the lines of communication have stretched thin. I miss her….