On Pomegranates and Companionship

On Pomegranates and Companionship

Bella and I both love pomegranates. Every once in a while I buy one for us to split. At $2 a piece they seem a bit extravagant; but definitely worthwhile for an occasional treat.

Yesterday afternoon we had one for a snack and I realized that eating a pomegranate is one of my favorite activities with my daughter. There we sat at the kitchen table, side by side, both deliberately savoring the rich red jewels, one by one and two by two, as I pried them out of their honeycomb nest. We wiped our sticky fingers and occasionally exchanged a glance or a word or two as she commented on the birds in the bushes outside or asked for more pips. It was mostly, though, a companionable silence.

I’ve always held that the best friends I’ve had are those with whom I can enjoy a comfortable silence. It’s a rare thing, the ability to simply be in someone else’s company without having to fill the silence with words. There are a handful of people in my life with whom I can spend a long afternoon or evening sitting together in the same room, each of us engaged in our own book, not talking but enjoying the other’s presence. At most, glancing up now and then to read an interesting passage aloud to the other or comment on a passing thought.

And today as I sat next to my daughter, eating our pomegranate, I realized that she is in that select group. In that moment we were companions. The word, after all, comes from the Latin cum meaning “with” and pan meaning “bread”. There we were eating together. And it was no different, really, than the countless times that I’ve done the same with my sister. Both of us absorbed in the enjoyment of the food, not needing to talk. And I wasn’t really serving her. Instead, I was sharing my meal. It’s a subtle distinction; but a real one.

I’m not sure I can capture exactly what I felt in that moment, the serenity, the fellowship with my daughter, enjoying her company and the present moment with no pressure of any kind. Would that this moment would last forever, I thought.

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