Tanya and Coralee and I get together in the lounge at The Angel’s Loft, a room of quiet in the midst of a hectic (noisy!) workplace. I choose the armchair, and Tanya and Coralee settle themselves on opposite ends of the fancy leather couch to share with me their thoughts on friendship and each other.
Tanya and Coralee met earlier this year, when Tanya arrived as a participant in our day program. Although neither of them can recall the exact moment when they were first introduced, they both agree that they have become friends over these past few months, meeting at the numerous parties and celebrations that inevitably pop up when you get involved in L’Arche.
Although they still seem a little shy, they are happy to share what they appreciate about each other. "She’s funny and kind," Coralee says when I ask what she likes about Tanya. Tanya looks skeptical.
"Well", she replies seriously, "kind, but not funny."
"What do you like about Coralee?" I ask.
"She looks beautiful!"
"Yeah, I do. It’s the eyes that I have." Coralee knows how to accept a compliment.
"Plus, she’s kind and friendly, and laughable! She jokes around," Tanya continues.
"Yeah, I like to laugh and carry on. I always tease people. I tease either Rebecca or Rodney. Rodney is the biggest teaser I know!" Tanya smiles as Coralee entertains us with tales of the mutual poking fun that happens at Korban House.
As we talk more about what friendship is, Tanya and Coralee agree that a friend is someone to keep you company, someone who is always there so you don’t have to be alone. Friends are there to help you, to laugh with, to go for walks and play games. Friends can go shopping together. "For underwear and socks and bras!" laughs Coralee, "pink lacy ones!"
Tanya is scandalized, "I wouldn’t wear those!"
They also recognize that friendship can sometimes be a struggle. "They are hard to come by," Tanya notes. "Some people might be your friends for a little while but then they turn out to be the opposite. That happened to me. Made me feel confused. I don’t want to say I hate them, but it was upsetting."
"Or sometimes friends die." Coralee speaks from experience.
Tanya nods in agreement. "Yeah, like Michael Jackson, he’s gone. He was a good singer, a good dancer too. Although he screwed himself up pretty bad."
Our time is drawing to a close and I ask the ladies if they have anything else they would like to add. Coralee is anxious to get back to work, but Tanya wants to make sure I have it clear. "I’d be lost without Coralee and all my friends. Ever since I came here there are so many friends, it’s like home."