A little over a week ago, I had dinner with Seon Joon, who was in Cambridge on her way to visit friends on the west coast. We went to an Eritrean restaurant in Central Square, sitting at one of the traditional woven-basket tables at the front of the restaurant, where we shared a platter of savory lentils, spinach, and curried vegetables arranged on flat injera bread. Seon Joon and I hadn’t seen each other since June, and before that, we hadn’t seen each other in seven (seven!) years. After lingering long over food and conversation, we ordered hot beverages—ginger coffee for Seon Joon, and cinnamon-spiced tea for me—and talked until we’d sated ourselves on conversation and conviviality.
On Thursday, it was Pica who was briefly in Cambridge, visiting by train from the west coast. I’d seen Pica last spring, when we’d gone on an early morning bird walk at Mount Auburn Cemetery, followed by pancakes and conversation at the Deluxe Town Diner. On Thursday, the weather was unseasonably cold, with sporadic snow showers, so instead of birding and sketching at Mount Auburn, as we’d initially planned, Pica and I met in Harvard Square, where we talked and admired her sketches over steaming cups of Burdick’s famously intense dark hot chocolate.
There’s something magical about spending time over hot beverages with an old friend. Whether it’s been a year or seven since you’ve seen one another, the time gone by seems to melt under the influence of warm caffeine. You pick up old conversations as if they’d never been interrupted, remembering the various milestones that have passed even as your friendship has remained the same. Conversations shared over hot beverages somehow feel timeless, a ritual all their own. You remember the people you were the last time you met over a warm, comforting cup, and you feel inspired to envision who the two of you might be the next time you meet up, where or whenever that might be.