This is a story about an accidental friendship. Well, I suppose all friendships start out accidentally. This one was just more accidental than others.
Joe and Grace had met in a painting class at their local community college. Grace was a hopeful digital artist with dreams of working on 3D animated features for the big screen. She didn’t quite see the reason why regular old painting was a prerequisite for the digital art classes. But, if Art 100A stood in the way of her dream, then by golly she’d tackle it. Joe was an actor doing research on an upcoming role, where he would be playing Rene Magritte in a local theatre production. Joe was method, or at least tried to be.
One perfectly ordinary day, a week into the semester, Joe and Grace happened to run-walk into class late, at the same time. They ran-walked to the back of the classroom to two open seats, which happened to be right next to each other. Frazzled, they both set up their stations and started painting.
As Grace was getting settled into her work, Joe walked past to get supplies from the closet. Did I forget to mention that Joe was a little clumsy? Well, he is. The clumsiness manifests itself in different ways. That day, it was Joe catching his foot on Grace’s chair and falling to the ground while holding his art palette. Grace gasped and apologized, thinking she had caused Joe’s little tumble. Joe slowly rose, his face and shirt covered in burnt umber and phthalo green.
“Oh, no it’s my fault,” he said.
“Oh gosh, let me help you,” she said.
Grace grabbed some paper towels, handed half to Joe, and helped him get all the paint off his face and shirt. Joe never noticed before, but this Grace girl was kinda cute. His discovery left him a bit dumbfounded. Grace giggled at his second-too-long-stare and wiped up the last bit of phthalo green off his shoulder.
From that day on, Grace and Joe sat next to each other in class, but on purpose. They would often have coffee afterwards or get some gelato across the street. Once, Joe even convinced her to grab lunch at the vegan restaurant down the block. And Grace, despite being a formerly staunch carnivore, enjoyed her “pulled pork” sandwich made from jackfruit.
It was at that vegan restaurant that Joe looked Grace in the eye and said, “I really like hanging out with you. I mean, I like you.”
“Like, like me-like me?” Grace asked, open-eyed.
He chuckled, “Yeah. Is there any other kind?”
That was the story of Joe and Grace’s accidental friendship – that became something different, at a vegan restaurant down the block from the community college where they were taking a painting class.