Cathy Dew and Andrea Pook are best friends.
This is clear to anyone who happens to be in the same room (or booth) with them at any given time. Their conversation ebbs and flows with a comfort and familiarity that only comes with years of comraderie. They don’t finish each other’s sentences because they don’t need to; it’s already understood.
When they first arrived at the booth, both seemed a little unsure of exactly what it was they were getting into. The conversation started off a little timidly.
Andrea: “How are you….?”
Cathy: “I’m okay….a little nervous…”
Andrea: “Yeah, me too. Well, let’s start off with something easy, like…um…how you and I first met?”
(Andrea and Cathy)
As the minutes passed and the initial hesitancy about the situation began to wear off, Andrea asked the question that, unbenownst to me, had been lying underneath the surface from the moment the conversation began:
“Who would you say is the kindest person you’ve known?”
Cathy went on to tell the story of her late husband, Terry, who passed away 2 years ago. Left to try and repair this sudden void, Cathy stumbled upon a video that would profoundly change the direction of her life: Barack Obama’s speech on race relations in the United States. Excited about something for the first time that she could remember, Cathy immediately joined Camp Obama and began working from the ground up by phone banking and traveling to raise grassroots awareness. In the end, she was chosen as a driver for Joe Biden’s motorcade in Florida.
Throughout the conversation Andrea posed the questions that only a loved one could and listened intently as Cathy, at some moments fluid and exuberant, at others careful and reflective, laid bare the details of her life and the personal vulnerabilities she has had to confront.
As the conversation came to an end, Cathy and Andrea rose from their seats and embraced one another: a moment where words were meaningless and silence said everything.