The Architect and the Archaeologist Reconnect
My husband, Benedetto, has a friend from long ago. The two of them knew each other as struggling, young professionals in Israel 40 years earlier. Both arrived as recent college graduates and were seated together one day at the long, laminated tables of the one-of-a-kind, Jerusalem Old City eatery popular among travelers of the time: Uncle Moustache’s.
There, the friendly, big, burly Arab man with the handlebar mustache would offer a main course (chicken, liver or fish), salad, and chips (french fries) for just $1. Many were the friendships forged in the crowded, Middle Eastern cafe. Benedetto, the archaeologist, and Richard, the architect, naturally gravitated toward each other.
A couple of years later, we were married and Richard was there. Then several years passed and the two of us journeyed to his swank wedding. Life happened and we all lost touch due to the tyranny of the urgent.
And here we were, years later, visiting together. His kids were mostly grown, with one daughter in her last year of high school, while ours were all teens. Richard’s wife and I shared many similarities, primarily, the ability to laugh at our husband’s idiosyncrasies and recollections of the past.
Seated in their family room, the architectural upgrades of an historic home with ultra-modern kitchen paled in comparison to the hospitality offered. I loved the homey atmosphere, the offer of a faux fur blanket or fleece throw inside a cool home on a snowy day. They were so similar to us, all wearing sweaters rather than cranking the thermostat to 80 degrees, lol.
Most of us used their powder room before saying our goodbyes and taking our leave. I pondered how much one could tell from a friend’s bathroom and wondered if anyone had ever done a survey of such things.
The historic half bath was perfect in my estimation: a small, squarish window at head height, the sink with separate hot and cold faucets, a basketweave tile floor, the embroidered, red cardinal guest towels, the chunky, stained-glass-like soaps and honeycomb candles.
Here we were, decades later and continents away from our first encounters, and we still felt at home with one another, laughing, joking and talking of the serious issues of aging relatives, college-bound kids and international events. Friends.
—————Tags: archaeologist & architect, couple friends, family friends, friends over decades, growing apart & back together, long-lasting marriage, long-time friends, Old City of Jerusalem cafe, powder rooms, the power of friendship, Uncle Moustache's